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Blue Devils hold Central scoreless during scrimmage (Aug. 5, 2015 issue)

Defense was the calling card on Friday, July 31, at Bryant Field.
The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil football team welcomed Sullivan Central for an evening scrimmage to cap off the first week of practicing in full pads and came away with high marks, according to head coach Glenn White.
“The defense, we just played base,” White said following the scrimmage. “We just played our base defense for about 99 percent of the scrimmage and we played real well. Our defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. Colt Brewer played real well at weak side linebacker … our secondary kept their assignments. So far, it is looking real good, but we still have a lot to work on. We have a challenge coming Tuesday against Hampton, so we’ll see what we have there.”
The Blue Devils welcomed the Hampton Bulldogs after The Erwin Record’s press deadline on Aug. 4.
Against Central, the Devils were able to balance out a successful defense effort that was assisted by the offense, White added
“We were aggressive,” he said. “We had some good runs. Our offensive line fired off the ball … we missed a couple of assignments, but our backs picked it up. (Nick) Fender ran extremely well and (Hunter) Hensley threw the ball well, again.”
The young pups on the offensive side also came up with some big plays, including freshman Brett Strother who added a touchdown with the first team offense as a quarterback.
“He had a touchdown coming in as a quarterback,” White said. “I thought he had a solid showing and ran the ball well, too.”
Fender added a score early in the scrimmage racing to paydirt for the offense, while Laban Peterson and Logan Lance both added a score by returning fumble recoveries for scores.
Along with the scoring, Dylon Burgess, Dawson Hensley, Jacob Smith and Brett Lemmon were able to get early pressure off the line to help keep the Cougars scoreless throughout the two-hour scrimmage.
White gave praise to the players in the trenches.
“I was real pleased with our line,” he said. “Dawson Hensley came up big. Jacob Smith has stepped in. Justin Laughren and John Burnett are both returning lineman and we have Will Collins back from last year that anchors our line. Will is starting to be a leader. We’re running a fast-paced offense and he’s taking some things and putting them on himself to work on.”
The solid showing didn’t come without a heated exchange by players on the field in the early duration of the game.
“I like the energy,” White said. “But our coaching staff is here to teach the kids to be young men, too. To be aggressive, but keep your mouth shut in those situations, get back to where you’re supposed to be and don’t draw any unnecessary attention to yourself.”
The scrimmage concluded the first week of padded practice allowed by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA). After working in a handful of seven-on-seven competitions, the Blue Devils came ready to work, White said.
“I thought we responded with some spunk,” the head coach stated. “There, about Wednesday, we were in our third practice in pads and we were a little tired. It was about 98 degrees outside, but we went early in the morning and they just responded very well.”
The coach also had praise for his coaching staff for the work they also put in during the summer.
“I have a great coaching staff,” White said. “They’ve been great this year. I want to thank the school administration for hiring two extra coaches because that has helped out greatly. We’re just looking for better things and we’re going to get better. It is just that simple – our goal is to win. There are no excuses, we just have to win, and that is what I’m preaching.”