Unaka line fortified by senior trio

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com
Unaka will head into the season expecting to make a push with its three seniors up front, as added weight and strength should help them drive forward.
Jordan Ensor, Casey Garland and Tory Morton anchor down a line that has the potential of becoming special during the 2003 Ranger season.
"These guys all have a great work ethic about them, and everyone gets along with each other and likes hanging out as friends," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor.
The one problem Unaka encountered last season was not having enough muscle up front to manhandle its opponents.
With a desire to improve themselves and some dedication in the weight room, the Rangers big men have increased their lifting status anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds.

"I've told all of these guys that it has to start with them up front, and they've really worked hard in trying to improve," said Coach Ensor.
Ensor says each one of his linemen has an uniqueness, and that all of them are good students of the game.
"Casey is 6-5 240 pounds and he's developing into a great player. He's gone from 160 pounds to 275 pounds in benching, and his foot speed has improved," said Coach Ensor.
The biggest player on the line is center Jordan Ensor, who is 6-0 and goes around 275 pounds. He is another guy who benches in the upper 200s.
"Jordan is more of the plowboy type, unlike his brother, who was a quarterback, and he's not the kind of guy who cares about stats but takes pride in what he does," said Ensor.
Ensor says probably the most inspiring story is Tory Morton, who suffered a critical head injury during his freshman season.

"This guy had a brain injury and to have major surgery -- he was almost dead at one time," said Coach Ensor.
It wasn't expected that Tory would ever compete again, but come next season he showed up ready for action.
"I never dreamed he'd play again, and then he came out on the field the next fall ready to go again," said Coach Ensor. "I thought he wanted to be a manager or something, but the doctors cleared him and he's been here ever since."
Coach Ensor says Morton is totally different now from what he was then, as far as his mental and physical approach toward the game.
"In the beginning he was a little bit passive, but after the injury he came back and wanted to make more contact."
Tory has had to change his role this season, becoming a lineman instead of being in the backfield, but unlike most teenagers he has not once complained, according to Coach Ensor.
Andrew Richardson is another impact player who will give added stability to the trenches, at the tight-end position, and he's also had to overcome injuries during his high school career.
Richardson has increased his strength in the weight room, and hopefully his better conditioning will help detour some of the injuries suffer last season.
"After Andrew broke his hand last year, he amazingly missed just one practice the whole time, and moved back to the guard position to finish out the season," said Coach Ensor.
Sophomore, Travis Pasquale will get plenty of time of front also, as he tries to mature and gain the experience needed in adding to the Ranger turnaround.
"Sometimes he looks like a million bucks, and then sometimes he doesn't, but I think the more he matures the more impressive he'll be," said Coach Ensor.
Adam Ensor and Chris Richardson are two guys battling for a spot, along with Terry Campbell, who has shown some talent.
Josh Pierce and Thomas Thorton are a couple of JV guys who'll likely pull some double duty with the varsity team, and first year Steven Lapp has signs of becoming an impact.
Another amazing story in the Ranger camp is Eric Rucker, who is a transfer from Los Angeles, Calif.
"Him, his mother and brother all decided to move to Tennessee just because the crime had gotten so bad where they lived," said Ensor. "They decided to open up an atlas and pick the first place they came to and it was Elizabethton, Tenn."
Two new line coaches for Unaka this season are Tommy Vaughn and Ryan Nave, and Coach Ensor thinks the relationship between them and the players will be the key to success.
"I'm enthusiastic with both Tommy and Ryan coming on board, and our season depends a lot on how well they communicate with the players," said Coach Ensor. "All the kids seem to really like them, and they've all been getting along great."
When having a successful program you must start with a great line. No one man can carry a team by himself, so that's why it's critical to have the big guys up front pave the way to victory.
"We're a little bigger than what we have been, but I think the most important aspect is that we're a lot more mature than what we were last year, and it's starting to show," Coach Ensor said.