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UCMS football team wins first game of season

A Blue Devil brick wall awaited the Church Hill offense week at Gentry Stadium.
Led by the defensive effort of Roby Lemmon, the Unicoi County Middle School varsity football team earned their first win of the year, 12-6, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, against Church Hill in Middle 8 Conference action.
“The varsity game was the best defensive game I have ever witnessed in middle school football,” UCMS Travis Griffith told The Erwin Record in a recent interview. “Everyone did their job, made their assigned tackles, played really hard and we were able to earn our first win of the year out of it.
“We began the season with a lot of returning defensive starters from last year and many players with game experience,” Griffith continued. “Every week we grow a little each time. The coaching staff is doing a great job making kids that came out for football into football players.”
The junior varsity team has also seen their progression grow as the season has gone on, according to Griffith.
“Our JV team has come a long way this year,” he added. “We have many sixth graders starting for the junior varsity and the Church Hill game was no exception.”
A young team has seen leaders step up and Griffith said he is seeing an overall team effort across the board with both varsity and junior varsity teams.
“We really have a team effort each week to aid us in accomplishing our goals for the week” he said. “Lemmon has had a great season, especially defensively … There hasn’t been anyone on any team that has been able to keep him out of the backfield at all. Diego Diaz has had a really great year running the ball. He is the toughest kid I have ever coached … and players like Nick Farnor and Tanner VanHoy have made significant contributions to our team in several different positions.”
The improvements on the field are showing that the middle school program can be a feeder system for the high school, Griffith added.
“Middle school sports’ goal is to be a be a feeder system for our high school athletic programs and I feel that we are doing a great job accomplishing that goal,” he said. “We strive every year to send more and more players to coach (Glenn) White and his staff with some football knowledge. Coach White is a huge supporter of middle school football and his presence at many of our practices helps us to increase the desire to play high school football.”
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The Jr. Blue Devils opened action this week against Greeneville Middle School, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline. UCMS ends the season against Vance Middle School on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Gentry Stadium.
“As we move forward this year, we play a very good Greeneville team this week and finish up with a well-coached Vance team at home the following week,” Griffith said. “Our goal is to continue our increasing performance and have a strong finish for the year.”
Game time for both contests were set for 5:30 p.m. with junior varsity and varsity games scheduled for both evenings.