The heat in Tennessee may of been on scene during last weeks slate of high school football games, but the Devils from Erwin made sure to bring a little fire of their own while traveling on the road for their second game of the season.
The Unicoi County Blue Devils (1-1) showed a complete 360 on Thursday, Aug. 25, by rebounding from a 35-0 home-opener loss to defeat the Chuckey-Doak Black Knights (1-1) by the score of 28-10.
Doak, who was expected to place fairly high within the Blue Ridge Conference, came into the nights contest after posting a 54-6 winning performance in their first game of the season.
We took our lumps last week and the boys were challenged, coach Jerad Huskins explained after the game. We just went back and did what we needed to do to prepare for (Doak) during our practices and the guys did a great job out there tonight.
The Black Knights would score first after a stalled Blue Devil drive that resulted in a Joe McNabb field goal that had Chuckey-Doak on top 3-0 at the 3:45 mark of the first quarter.
Unicois offensive efforts were stalled on drive No. 1, but Hunter Goddards kickoff return from the Devils 20-yard line to their own 45 gave the spark needed to ignite the fireworks for coach Huskins squad.
After a Goddard 10-yard reception from quarterback Austin Hensley, Hunter Abbott made the first big bang of the night for the Blue Devils offense.
Hunter (Abbott) and Austin (Hensley) are kind of our one-two punch, Huskins said. You cover one and it keeps the other open, both of them did what we needed them to do during the night.
Unicoi only needed two plays during their drive, with Abbott racing forward to the endzone with a 45-yard touchdown that gave the Devils a 7-3 lead following a Tomas Vazquez extra point.
Abott came up for the rushing attack of Unicoi County, contributing with 88 yards on 12 carries from scrimmage.
The battle of the defenses would be in effect until halftime, with Unicoi rebounding from a 15-yard penalty thanks in part to a stop in the backfield by Hunter Burnett and Chase Honeycutts fumble recovery to keep momentum on the Devils side.
The Devils would go into halftime with a 7-3 lead, but the Black Knights would not go away by returning the opening kickoff of the second half back for a touchdown.
It would be the last time the Unicoi would trail during the night.
Defensively we shook some things up and moved around some personnel, Huskins said. We prepared for Doak and made sure that if they were going to beat us, it would be through the air. The guys on defense came up big overall with the forced fumbles and stops on fourth down, it was good to see the improvement over the week.
Josh McKinney and Cody Harris were a part of the host of Blue Devils who helped on the defensive side of things with stops in the secondary against the Black Knights passing attack.
Unicois offense was unable to punch through on their first drive of the second half, but after a Matt Lingerfelt stop the Devils were able to cause the second forced fumble of the night with Jordan Berry coming up from the linebacker spot to aid in the fumble recovery near the Black Knights redzone.
Berrys name would be soon called again.
After a Hensley first down run, the Blue Nation in attendence would see Hensley connect with Berry on a touchdown pass that gave the Devils the lead again at 9:00 spot of the third quarter.
With the Vazquez extra point, the Devils would be back on top 14-10.
Unicoi would cause their third forced fumble on the night on the Black Knights next drive, but Hensleys next pass would be picked off by a Doak defender.
Accounting for three touchdowns and aiding in stops on defense, Hensley would make up for the interception.
We came out here tonight and executed the way we needed to Hensley said. The coaches did a great job of getting us ready tonight.
Hensley would run from one yard out on his first rushing touchdown and three yards out for the second, to give the Devils the final score of 28-10.
Hensley finished the night going 13-21 passing with three touchdowns (one passing, two rushing) with an interception.
The Devils will be back on the road for their upcoming game on Friday, Sept. 2, traveling up to face coach Mike Atwoods Longhorn squad from Johnson County.
The game will mark the Devils first conference game of the year, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The UCHS JV Devils were at home on Monday, Aug. 22, against the junior varisty of South Greene.
Unicoi came away with the 28-6 win, with Thomas Tipton coming up with three of the touchdowns during the night for the Blue Nation.
Garrett Clark came up big defensively for the Devils including an interception but had to leave the game due to an injury on the field.
The JV Devils will be on the road Aug. 29, to play against the junior varsity of Chuckey Doak, gametime is slated for 6 p.m. after The Erwin Records Monday evening press deadline.