Unaka drills unfold in good fashion

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com

  It seemed to go well for Unaka with spring football, as the Rangers made strides in trying to improve their program.
   The Rangers have struggled over the past several years, but coach Mike Ensor isn't ready to call it quits just yet. He is committed to bring a winning program to Unaka.
   Another Ensor attempting to help turn things around is Mike's uncle, "Cobby" Charles Ensor, who oversaw spring practice while his nephew was away calling the shots in the state baseball tournament.
   "To tell you the truth, I didn't get a chance to see how well they did," said Acie. "I was off taking care of other things, so I turned it over to Charles Ensor while I was away."
   Charles Ensor has had the experience as a head coach with a couple different schools, and his knowledge could become a big asset in the Rangers' reconstruction of their program.
   "I retired from coaching about five years ago, and I was a head coach at both Powell Valley and Union County," said Cobby. "I was an assistant at Johnson County for a while also."
   Now Cobby will assume the role of offensive coordinator for Unaka, where he looks to add some spark to the Rangers ball movement.
   "We've already started a new offense and defense, and I plan to help out all year long as the offensive coordinator," said Cobby.
   Not all of the players were present during spring training, but the turnout was a positive one for the Rangers.
   "We still had some kids missing due to baseball, and we had three linemen who were out and will make an impact for us," said Cobby.
   As far as how spring practice went for Unaka, Cobby seems to be happy with the way it unfolded.
   "Spring practice went really well for us, because all of the kids' attitudes were good, and they put forth a lot of effort and worked hard," said Cobby.
   All eyes will be on two seniors this season: last year's 1,000 yard rusher Joey Parlier, and lineman Casey Garland, who is already being recognized by several different colleges.
   "Joey had 1,000 yards last year, and with the schedule we're playing this season I don't think he'll have that much of a problem doing it again," said Cobby.
   The Rangers plan to pound Parlier up the middle, then bring in a burst of speed around the corners with sophomore Charles Guinn.
   Unaka is looking for Garland to help make the holes and control the line of scrimmage.
   "Casey is 6-5 and 250 pounds, and I can tell you right now that he really gets after it," said Cobby.
   The Rangers have some upcoming freshman who will be expected to assist in the controlling the line, along with Garland.
   "We have about four or five freshmen coming in, and they all go over 240 plus pounds, so we're real excited on how they will help out," said Cobby.
   The most improved player through spring practice, according to Charles, is junior Cody Hurley.
   "I would have to say that Hurley was probably our best improved player -- it seems he has matured and grown up a whole lot," said Cobby. "He's been hitting well, and is starting to really recognize the different looks with the offense."
   Unaka scrimmaged Chuckey-Doak twice during the spring, and the results of how they look seem to be headed in the right direction.
   "We moved the ball well against Chuckey-Doak in the two scrimmages we had with them, and we still didn't have all of our starting lineup, so I'm pleased with how we looked," said Cobby.
   Expect things to be on the upswing for the Rangers this season, as they lighten their schedule in trying to get some wins under their belt while gaining confidence.
   "I think we have a great shot at having a winning season this year, since we've decided to play schools who are the same size as us," said Cobby.