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Unicoi falls to Happy Valley, 20-13

“Justice is coming”
The popular motto from the Blue Devils is starting to take form on the field, with respect being garnered throughout the 2011 season from area teams after coming off a 1-9 season last year.
Unicoi County (2-3) (1-1) battled to stage a comeback against Happy Valley (3-2) (1-1) but the trio of running backs, led by Jaylen Simmons, for the Warriors would set the pace for a 20-13 Warrior win at Gentry Stadium on Friday, Sept. 16.
“Coach (Larry) Shively does a great job,” coach Jerad Huskins said after the game. “They did some things we didn’t really see on film, like going into the I-Formation some, but Happy Valley played a good game out there.”
After last year’s 34-12 loss on Warrior Hill, coach Shively was quick to sing the praises of Unicoi’s football program.
“Erwin has improved tremendously,” he explained. “It’s been real competitive in the conference this year. Any night you can get a win in the Three Rivers is a good night. We are just happy to get out of here with the win.”
Unicoi’s first drive was stalled on a third down quarterback sack but the Devils were able to gain ground by Chase Honeycutt recovering a punt that gave coach Huskins’ squad field position at the Warrior 34 yard line.
Austin Hensely, who finished the night going 14-22 through the air for 86 yards, capped off a five play drive with a 20 yard strike to Honeycutt in the endzone for a quick 7-0 lead with 7:25 to go in the first.
Happy Valley would march down the field 67 yards on their first drive of the game getting to the Devils seven yard line; only to have the Devils defense come up with their second turnover of the night by Zach Beard hopping on a botched snap to give the Devils position again in their own territory.
Happy Valley would hold force Unicoi to punt, with Simmons racing from 40 yards out during the Warriors possession to knot the game up 7-7 with 10:30 to go in the second quarter.
Simmons finished the night with 159 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
Forcing the Devils to punt again, the Warriors were penalty plagued with were placed in a fourth down situation.
Honeycutt, who was all over the field on defense, picked off a Seth Davis pass to keep the game tied 7-7 at halftime.
The name would be called again in the third.
With Happy Valley receiving the kick to start off the second half, Simmons would rush for 51 yards in a foot race against the Devil defenders to an apparent touchdown, until Gabe Kimery caught up with the back and swatted the ball out of his hands to save a Warrior score.
Again, Honeycutt would recover the fumble.
Kimery finished the night defensively with four tackles and a forced fumble.
“Our guys grew up tonight on defense,” Huskins stated. “I couldn’t be anymore proud of the way they performed. We play a lot of younger kids, sophomores and juniors, and they took huge steps tonight with key plays.”
Happy Valley would be the next score on the board, with Zack Ball rushing from 11 yards out to give the Warriors a 14-7 lead at the 1:36 mark of the third.
The conference leaders in passing yards and receiving yards would take control for Unicoi’s next drive, with Hensley finding Hunter Goddard for a six yard strike in the fourth to give the Devils 13 points and a one point deficit due to a blocked extra point.
Goddard finished the night with seven catches for 36 yards.
Following a touchdown saving tackle by Devil kicker, Roberto Martinez, the Warriors would wrap up the scoring with a 28 yard touchdown catch from Tyler Adkins in the endzone with 2:39 left in the game.
“I’m proud of the effort they gave tonight,” Huskins said. “I told them that when we talked in the locker room. You can see that we’re improving each game. They have fun playing the game and we have fun coaching. I feel they’ll be able to bounce back, we have a great group of kids and us coaches are real fortunate to have a chance to coach these kids.”
Devils running back, Hunter Abbott, finished the night with 40 yards off 15 carries.
Josh McKinney led the tackle total from his secondary spot with six. Four Blue Devils paced the Devils with five tackles, including Kimery, Matt Lingerfelt, Jordan Berry and Hunter Burnett. Willy Edwards came up from his defensive tackle spot to come up with four tackles. Fellow senior lineman, Anthony Harris, had three to contribute to the defensive efforts. Final defense tallies include Honeycutt with two and a half tackles along with fumble recoveries and an interception, Cody Harris came up with three and a half tackles, Clay McNabb contributed a sack and two tackles along with Roberto Martinez with Beard, Game Kimery and Jacob Sawyer wrapping up the totals with one apiece.
The games Friday night have the Devils in a dogfight within the conference, with four teams having a record of 1-1.
“The conference this year is real competitive,” Huskins said. “(North) winning puts them as the only team without any losses and the rest and the rest are with a 1-1 record. We have a great chance to do good things within the conference. We’ll go watch film this weekend, hit the weights and prepare for Gatlinburg-Pittman this week. We have a bye week afterwards then it’ll be a big match-up when we go to Elizabethton.”
The Devils honored their 1961 “Erwin” Devils football team during the night.
Unicoi County will be hosting Gatlinburg-Pittman on Friday, Sept. 23 at Gentry Stadium for homecoming night.
The Devils will have a bye week after this week.
JV Results
The JV Blue Devils (3-0) continued their impressive showing throughout the weeks, by snagging a come from behind win against the Hampton Bulldogs at J.C. Campbell Stadium on Monday, Sept. 12.
It would be neck and neck in the first quarter with Blue Devil, Luke Fronkoski, rumbling in the endzone at the 4:45 mark to give the Devils an early 6 to 0 lead.
Hampton would respond back with a pass from quarterback, Anthony Oliver, to Brady Tolley to knot up the score in the first.
Thomas Tipton would scurry from 66 yards out on a kickoff return for a touchdown following a Lucas Hensley and Ty Adkins connection for a two point conversion to give Unicoi a 14-6 lead.
Hampton would knot up the score again, until Fronkoski rushed from 10 yards out on his second rushing touchdown of the night.
“The guys are doing a great job,” Huskins said after the game. “(Luke) is doing a great job running the ball for our JV team. The future is looking real bright with this group of kids.”
Hampton would take the lead late in the game, until sophomore Brodhi Bradford caused a fumble to give Unicoi live in the last part of the game.
Hensley took advantage and rushed from three yards out to tie the game and another two point conversion pass to Adkins gave the Devils a final of 28-26.
Caleb Seegers and Tommy Fraizer each led the Devils in tackles with nine apiece.