By Keeli Parkey
The Unicoi County High School football team faced a tough preseason test, one that head coach Drew Rice believes will prepare them for the upcoming 2018 season.
“I was pleased with how physical we played, especially with our first group of guys,” Rice said about the scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 3. Hampton is a very good football team, and I thought we had a good showing against them. … We knew it was going to be a test of our physicality and toughness, and we feel like we passed that test. Hampton is known for a very physical style of play, maybe more physical than anyone on our schedule, and that’s why we wanted to scrimmage them.”
The Blue Devils had success throwing the ball against the Bulldogs.
“I think our passing game really looked good,” Rice said. “We tried to spread the ball around a little more and get some other guys involved and it worked out well.”
With just over a week to go before the season begins, the Blue Devils have a different practice schedule and will be preparing physically for the games – and the weather – ahead.
“Our priority is to take this week to heal up a little bit from the grind and toll of our camp, and also continue to get ourselves into the best physical condition possible,” Rice said. “We will ramp up our running these two weeks to try and prepare for the heat that everyone has to deal with the first couple games. We also want to continue to fine tune our offense and ensure our defensive guys know exactly where they are supposed to be and what their individual assignments are.
“We will get on an afternoon practice schedule beginning this week. It’s always a challenge the first week practicing in the hottest part of the day. We will have to mentally overcome that and continue to prep for South Greene. We have to have two great weeks of practice in our final preparation for the opener at home.”
The season opener will be held at Gentry Stadium against South Greene on Friday, Aug. 17. Blue Devil fans can purchase season tickets in the office at UCHS from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.