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Blue Devils prepare for Patriots

It is full steam ahead for the Unicoi County High School football team coming off their bye week.
“It is about sticking with our motto of hitting and sticking,” head coach Glenn White said following practice on Monday, Sept. 29. “Just getting to the point of attack and getting to our blocks. I’m pleased with the boys. They’re doing everything I’ve asked them to do. We had a good two-hour practice today.”
UCHS (0-5) will look to right the ship for the second half of the season with a home contest set for Oct. 3 against Sullivan East (3-2).
“It’s going to have to be assignment football,” White said. “They have a lot of misdirection … if we read the backs, we’re in trouble. We have to read the linemen.
“Coach (Mike) Locke has done a great job there and I’m happy for him. It is good for football here when Sullivan East is on the rise like that. But we want to be where they are at. We’re going to fight and scratch and do whatever we can to get the win Friday night but they’re a well-coached team.”
After getting struck with the injury bug, the Blue Devils hope to have some players returning to the field, White said.
“We are looking to get a few back,” White said. “We’ll be at 90 percent of what we had against Hampton. What I liked about the South game was we played hard and we didn’t get anyone hurt. I’m a firm believer that if you play hard, you’re not going to get hurt unless you’re in a bind.”
The Blue Devils are moving ahead with junior Hunter Hensley behind center with senior Cody Jack Rogers still nursing an injury from the Sullivan North contest.
“It is Hunter’s job,” White said. “When Cody Jack comes back, of course he has a chance to win the job back, but he’s an athlete. We can play him at corner, split … outside linebacker. When’s he’s back, he will be on the field.”
It has been about the basics on offense, White added, running out of the I-formation to prep for the remaining schedule.
Senior Luke Fronckoski currently paces the Blue Devils on the ground with over 400 yards and seven touchdowns – including a kickoff return for a score against Gatlinburg-Pittman.
Sophomore Nick Fender is also a threat in the backfield and has two special team scores to his credit. Threats on the corner include Davis Webb, Brandon Caldwell and Michael Howell.
Defensively, Justin Nelson currently sits at 48 stops on the year with Dylon Burgess and John Burnett close behind with 44 and 43, respectively.
Hensley was in the mix but will be primarily used on one side of the ball. Will Shelton, Chris Johnson are a pair of seniors leading the charge, while underclassmen Cameron Higgins, Dylan Berry, Brett Lemmon and Jacob Smith have shown strides over the weeks.
“It’s about practicing hard,” White said about the coming days. “Working on assignment football on defense and working on the offense we’ve been working on in the past.”
The month of October will be kind to the Blue Devils with four of the remaining five games at home. UCHS will host Johnson County on Oct. 10 for homecoming with the only other road game happening Oct. 17 at Happy Valley. The Blue Devils will end the month with a “Pink Out” game on Oct. 24 against Elizabethton and end the season on Halloween facing Sullivan Central for senior night.