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White: Blue Devils will 'keep fighting'

The Blue Devils had the right game plan in place but a pair of costly turnovers proved to be too much in the end.
The Unicoi County High School football team (0-6) took an early 6-0 lead off a 70-yard run by senior running back Luke Fronckoski, but Sullivan East (5-2) used four touchdowns from Matt Nixon to take a 30-12 win against UCHS on Friday, Oct. 3, in Erwin.
Blue Devil Head coach Glenn White, in his second game at the helm, saw his team move to 0-3 inside the Three Rivers Conference. Sullivan East moved to 2-1.
It was the first game for coach White's crew with newly-implemented offensive and defensive schemes. UCHS limited Nixon (20 carries, 97 yards) to just 31 yards on the ground in the first half’ however, three touchdowns by Nixon – two on the ground and one in the air – and Cody Wednt’s 37-yard field goal gave the Pats a 23-12 lead at half.
“We're lucky to come out of here tonight with a win,” Sullivan East head coach Mike Locke said. “The (Blue Devils) gave an inspired effort for coach White. It's a big win for us. It's our fourth road game in an environment like this. I'm proud of our guys.”
UCHS trimmed into the lead during the first half with Cameron Higgins going in from 7 yards out.
“Those early turnovers killed us,” White said. “But I liked our effort tonight. I couldn't ask for a better group of boys to coach or a better group of coaches on staff. I'm confident we'll still have good things to come this season.”
A change in offensive plans saw Fronckoski finish as the game's leading rusher with 18 carries for 144 yards.
“I respect coach Mac (Robert McElwee) and what he did for us,” Fronckoski said. “It has been great with coach White. He gets us fired up for games.
“I think our offense will be good. We'll have more time to work this week. We just need more reps.”
The Blue Devils went over 200 yards on the ground. Cameron Higgins eclipsed 50 yards on the ground and Nick Fender ran for 16 yards. Fender had a breakaway run on a botched punt snap in the first but was unable to turn the same magic on a second that set up an East score.
“It has been an adjustment,” junior lineman John Burnett said. “I thought our offense played well and I liked our effort.”
Defensively, Brandon Caldwell snagged an interception in the endzone in the second half and sophomore Brett Lemmon came up with a fumble recovery.
Justin Nelson led the defense with eight tackles. Dylon Burgess added seven while Chris Johnson, Will Shelton and Ty Whitson added six. Erik Arnett, Warren Shelton, Derek Berry, Dylan Lewis and Jacob Smith also played well on the defensive side of the ball.
“Unicoi is a better team than we expected,” Nixon said. “They played us tougher than the score showed.”
Attention turns to this week as Johnson County comes to Gentry Stadium for homecoming.
“Homecoming is always a special time,” said White. “We're going to prepare this week and just keep fighting. I'm proud of this group and what they've done this year.”
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The UCHS junior varsity team was scheduled to play Sullivan East on Monday, Oct. 6, after The Erwin Record's press deadline.