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Off the Field – Back to postseason (Nov. 4, 2015 issue)

The Unicoi County High School football team is returning to the postseason.
The Blue Devils will compete in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 after finishing the regular season with a 5-5 record, including a 4-3 mark, in the Mountain Eight Conference.
Head coach Glenn White and company will make the trip to Alcoa on Friday, Nov. 6, to face the Tornadoes in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Seasons of being the “cellar dweller” inside the conference were erased by the Blue Devils’ fourth-place finish within the Mountain Eight this season.
Developing a winning attitude isn’t a process done overnight, but the Blue Devils tried their best to do that this year and are playoff-bound due to their efforts.
Excitement is back at Gentry Stadium, and not just from the effort on the field. Whether it is the band serenading the crowd, the cheerleaders willing the team to victory or the crowd going wild on a run to the end zone, Blue Nation has brought back a thrilling atmosphere to Gentry Stadium and the sky is the limit moving forward.
According to stats provided by the program, senior quarterback Hunter Hensley surpassed the 1,000-yard passing mark with 1,034 yards. Hensley also had seven touchdowns and 550 yards on the ground.
Also, with one game to go, Nick Fender sits at 890 yards on 138 carries this season.
Michael Howell leads the receiving core with 17 catches for 377 yards.
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Working with one of the smaller Three Rivers Conference cross country programs, the UCHS Blue Devil and Lady Blue Devils continue to build upon recent success around the courses in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.
Head coach Thad Higgins inherited a program on the right track following the retirement of Gary Howard last season. The Milligan College runner carried over the coaching expertise gained last season during track and field to lead a successful 2015 season.
Sophomore Megan Todd clinched her second straight TSSAA state meet bid. The program has other runners in prime position to potentially qualify next season.
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The Unicoi County Middle School basketball programs have opened action across the hardwoods in the region.
The Jr. Blue Devils, under the direction of head coach Ken Hilliard, opened up the regular season last week with a 2-0 record.
An update on the boys and girls teams, including pictures, will appear in a future issue of The Erwin Record.
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Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana moved to 7-1 on the year after a 35-28 victory over Manchester during the weekend.
Austin Swenson, quarterback for RHIT, finished with a game-high 24-34 passing mark for 287 yards. Receiver Alec Fisher finished with 207 yards through the air.
The team features former UCHS Blue Devil Corey Headley as an assistant coach working with wide receivers.
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East Tennessee State University waited 12 years to reach the win column for football and things were extra sweet for the program Saturday.
After returning to the college football realm this season, the Buccaneers routed Warner, 42-9, in front of nearly 7,000 fans at Kermit-Tipton Stadium in Johnson County.
The last football win for ETSU was in the 2003 season.
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Erwin native Nolan Tankersley is officially with the ETSU cycling program after a strong career at Milligan College. Tankersley helped Milligan’s program receive national recognition with titles for cycling teams.
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Kudos goes out to the gang from WEMB AM 1420 for another regular season in the books at Gentry Stadium.
The trio of Ed Freyling, Reuben Farrey and Will Ellis turned in another solid effort on the airwaves as the Blue Devils capped off the regular season Friday, Oct. 30, in Mountain City. Having a beat covering a program from top to bottom is never an easy task and their teamwork made the season run smooth this year.
Whether it’s assisting with spotting on the field, on the airwaves chatting up what’s going on across the region, being able to have the cohesive effort at each stadium, working side-by-side, to provide the best coverage possible for the Blue Nation makes the fall season that much better.