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Off the Field – Jamboree arrives for basketball teams (Nov. 5, 2014 Issue)

An unofficial start will usher in the hardwood season for Blue Nation this week.
The Unicoi County High School basketball teams will compete in the annual Three Rivers Conference basketball jamboree on Thursday, Nov. 6, at Sullivan East High School.
Head coach Kerri King will introduce her Lady Devil basketball team against Unaka at 5:30 p.m. while John English’s Blue Devils will square off against the Rangers at 6 p.m.
Hall of Champions action will open the season for UCHS with both teams competing in in-school games inside the Devils’ Den against Volunteer High on Nov. 13. The Blue Devils will compete at 1 p.m. while the Lady Devils will follow up at 2:30 p.m. Later that evening the Blue Devil junior varsity and varsity will tussle with North Buncombe, N.C., starting at 6 p.m.
Hall of Champion games will end on Nov. 15 at Science Hill with contests against the Hilltoppers and Cocke County.
The Erwin Record will feature the annual UCHS basketball tab on Nov. 19 featuring an inside look at the upcoming basketball season with interviews and photos from all the teams at the high school level.
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A pair of former Blue Devil gridiron standouts worked themselves into perfect seasons across the state.
Clark Duncan, a former UCHS and University of Tennessee player, saw his South Doyle football team go 10-0 on the year and secure a first-place seed for the 5A TSSAA football playoffs.
Near the Chattanooga area, former UCHS assistant and Vanderbilt Commodore Chris Brown, helped spearhead the defensive efforts for the Ooltewah Owls, who also secured a 10-0 season on the year.
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The future is bright inside Gentry Stadium.
It’s something you may not hear after a program goes on 0-10 but the Blue Devils have a level of confidence going into the offseason after a solid showing against Sullivan Central to end the season.
A change of classification will also assist crew heading into 2015. The TSSAA reclassification has UCHS in a league with schools with approximately the same enrollment and a chance to tweak the regular season schedule allows the team to schedule teams to aid in the resurgence for the team. An experienced staff is in place and the team will able to adjust to their new system during the year, unlike a quick shift halfway in the season thanks to the coaching change.
Keep an eye out on the Big Blue. Things could be interesting heading into next season.
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A tip-of-the-cap goes out to Gary Howard who will be making an exit from the UCHS cross country program. During his career Howard and his cross country teams made multiple appearances to the TSSAA state meet, including sending a Lady Devil to the big dance the past three seasons.
Congratulations, coach Howard. Enjoy the retirement.
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Kudos also goes out to former WEMB radio broadcasters Chuck Ray and Jim Crawford after being honored by the TSSAA on Monday, Nov. 3.
No other two broadcasters meant more to local athletics than these two. Whether UCHS was squaring off in conference play or making the trip down to Knoxville, you can bet Jim and or Chuck would be right along for the ride.
It was a pleasure to work alongside some of the top talent in the area and you couldn’t ask for better men to be recognized for their accomplishments.
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UCHS will open the swim season on Monday, Nov. 10, to usher in the new era for a program that was decommissioned over 30 years ago.
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Follow me on Twitter: @CurtisCarden_ER.