Coach Benny Hammonds and his Gatlinburg Pittman Highlander football squad knocked off the Unicoi County High School Blue Devils, 34-7, in non-conference action, at Hammonds Field in Gatlinburg behind the rushing attack of Michael Muszick (24 carries, 123 yards, 4 TDs).
Gatlinburg-Pittman (3-2) entered the contest following a win over state-ranked 5A Knox Gibbs the previous week. Fridays win over UCHS extended Gatlinburg-Pittmans winning streak over the Devils to 14 games.
The Blue Devils (3-3) had things go their way in the first quarter. After GPHS made it out to midfield on three plays, Cody Harris recovered a fumble on a Highlander botched snap to give the Devils ideal field possession on their first drive.
The Devils and Higlanders battled through a defensive standoff in the first half until Gatlinburg Pittman orchestrated a six-play, 56-yard touchdown drive on their third possession to take a 6-0 lead.
The Blue Devils didnt waste time getting on the scoreboard after the Highlander touchdown. Keith Arrowood took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. Hunter Burnetts extra point put the Devils ahead, 7-6, with 1:09 left in the first quarter.
Back to back turnovers by the Blue Devils in the second quarter gave the Highlanders the momentum they needed to take control of the game. GPHS led 28-7 at halftime.
Our offense really put our defense into some tough situations, head coach Jerad Huskins said. You take that second quarter out, with G-P only scoring once in the second half, youve got yourself a more competitive game and puts us in a position to win. You cant give a team like Gatlinburg free opportunities like that.
The Blue Devils got their offense going in the third quarter, but could not get to the end zone.
Gatlinburg Pittman is a really good defensive team, Huskins said. I was proud by our efforts on defense.
Harris had three fumble recoveries in the contest, while Phillip Franklin led the tackling efforts with nine. Caleb Segars Justin Nelson each had eight tackles; Jordan Berry had six tackles.
Franklin led the offensive efforts with 10 carries for 48 yards; Luke Fronckoski chipped in 19 yards on six carries.
With the bye week set for the Devils, getting all the players healthy will be a focus, according to Huskins.
Were going to take full advantage of the bye week, heal up and throw some wrinkles in the offense, he said. The biggest thing will be for us to find that spark for us on offense. Im really impressed with the situation we are in right now. Were sitting at 3-3 with our backup quarterback doing a good job of maintaining the offense.
The Blue Devils will return to action on Friday, Oct. 5, at Gentry Stadium in Three Rivers Conference action against the first-place Elizabethton Cyclones. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Unicoi County junior varsity will be back in action on Monday, Oct. 8, against the Elizabethton J.V. program. The junior varsity kicks off at 5:30 p.m.
By Curtis Carden