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Off the Field – New football feeder program comes to county

By Curtis Carden

It is all about growing the feeder program for the coming years at Gentry Stadium.

A collaboration between former EJAA officials and Unicoi County school officials has created a new junior football and cheer organization which will be unveiled this year.

The Jr. Devils is a simple idea, according to Mike Bowers, but it goes back to instilling pride in Blue Devil football for the up-and-coming stars of the gridiron.

“Coach (Glenn) White said he only had a few seniors on his team,” Bowers said. “We can’t have that. It is our job as parents, coaches and volunteers to bring the pride back for the Blue Devils. You look at other schools, the kids wear it with pride. We need to narrow that gap of where coach White doesn’t have around seven seniors, but more around 20.”

Unicoi County High School will be heavily involved in the new setup with the Jr. Devils, Bowers said. With limited practices during the week, members of the Jr. Devils program will compete in scrimmages each Thursday. Members of the high school football and cheer teams will be on hand. Bowers also said that coach White will be wearing a microphone during the events, which are free of charge. According to Bowers, teams will be split up by elementary schools and by the number of kids that compete.

While doing that on Thursday, the Jr. Devils will continue the tradition set by the EJAA, by playing a normal weekend schedule in the Watauga Junior Athletic League, which includes teams such as Elizabethton, Science Hill and David Crockett.

The Blue Devils have their feeder program, but don’t expect the cheering side of things to dip off anytime soon, according to Amy Banks, who spearheads the charge for the group and has seen numbers continually grow over the years.

Jr. Devils will offer a Witten Huddle One Day football camp, along with a cheer camp, on June 25.

For more information on the group, visit their Facebook page online by searching Unicoi County Jr. Devils.

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Congratulations to Unicoi Middle School athletes Kaitlin Bailey, Kody Lewis and Michael Harrington for qualifying for the first ever TMSAA state track and field competition.

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Even in the SoCon, the Unicoi County and Greeneville softball rivalry reared its head once again.

The East Tennessee State University Buccaneers and Lady ‘Mocs met to end the regular season last week. The Bucs featured recent UCHS graduates Taylor Wright and Tiffany Laughren, while Chattanooga had former Lady Green Devil standout Jordan Fortel on the team.

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Another UCHS graduate has been staying busy following his time in the Valley Beautiful.

Corey Headley is gearing up for his second year at Rose-Hulman Institute in Indiana, with spring football underway for the Fightin’ Engineers.

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For updates on the student athletes from Unicoi County, visit The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page throughout the week. Updates will also be provided on Twitter at: @CurtisCarden.