Rangers thrash Lions

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com
SEYMOUR--Unaka led the charge of dethroning King's Academy on Friday night, as the Rangers' front line pushed ahead to a 46-19 victory.
The Rangers (1-2) were phenomenal on defense at penetrating the backfield, and their offense was unstoppable as they outran the Lions at every corner.
"It basically came down to not having any linemen who could match up with our kids up front, and their young skilled players were at a mismatch once trying to come off blocks and catch our kids," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor.
King's Academy received the opening kickoff and managed to grab a couple of first downs off of quarterback scrambles from Brett Weaver.
After making it into Ranger territory, the Unaka defense stiffened with a monstrous hit coming from Travis Pasquale.
The Rangers took over and scored on their first possession, with a 46-yard run coming from Charles Guinn, who made the move to the outside into a wide-open field.
"I had the perfect run because I had the perfect block, and our line did a great job for us tonight," said Guinn.
Unaka was ready on defense with the Lions' next series of offense, when Joey Estep made the sack on the first play from scrimmage for a four-yard loss.
"This feels great because we've worked so hard and are finally getting paid for it," said Estep. "We've been practicing and pushing the sleds which is pretty hard."
On a third down and long situation, Estep busted through again with Joey Parlier to combine on the second sack of the series.
This forced King's Academy to punt, but a bad snap from center that flew over the punter's head resulted in Unaka taking over at the Lions 9-yard line.
Brandon Irick took it from the first play from scrimmage to score on the quarterback keeper, and Unaka led 16-0 with 1:50 left in the first period.
Unaka scored again on its next possession, with two runs coming from Guinn. First came his 26-yard gain to the right side, which set up his 40-yard scoring burst.
"Our line has been working a lot harder the last few weeks, and they came out and did their job tonight," said Guinn. "I think this is going to help turn our season around."
No matter if they were eight, eleven, or even 15 guys coming after Guinn, he was not about to be stopped on this night , racking up 126 yards on four carries with two touchdowns.
The Rangers managed to get a turnover on the Lions' next possession when a fumbled snap ended up in the hands of Kasey Garland.
"We just got to come back Monday and prepare for Twin Springs, but if we play with the intensity we did tonight, then we should have a good chance at beating them," said Garland.
Cody Hurley got the call at tailback on the Rangers' next play, and a 34-yard run gave Unaka a 32-0 lead with 9:50 left in the second quarter.
"We've worked hard and have looked for this all season, and finally we came together and got one," said Hurley. "It feels great. We've worked so hard every week in practice."
The Rangers called off the dogs for the remainder of the half, but freshman tailback Steven Lapp rambled 56 yards for another Ranger score, increasing the advantage to forty.
King's Academy finally got on the board when Jun Choi sprang a run for 29 yards down the right side.
Choi would make his presence felt again at the end of the half, when he hooked up with Weaver on a 15-yard pass in the right corner of the end zone.
Unaka led 40-13 at halftime, as the Rangers had dominated the line of scrimmage and showcased their speed on the offensive side of the ball.
The Rangers came out in the second half continuing to pound the Lions up front with Garland and a newly-found position by Parlier, blowing up the open holes.
"I thought we ran the ball well and the linemen opened up the good holes. The backs ran good and held onto the ball better than they have tonight," said Garland. "Joey made some holes for us too, along with the JV guys coming in doing a good job."
Unaka decided to take a shot at working on its passing game and trying to get something established.
There wasn't any success for Unaka through the air, as two passes were picked off, one of which was returned for a 25-yard score by Joel Stair.
"We had some kids open and had pretty good pass protection, but that's something we're going to continue to work on as the year goes on," said Ensor.
Unaka came back to drive it down the field after moving Irick to the backfield and Michael Carpenter to the quarterback position.
Carpenter scored from one yard out on the quarterback sneak to put the game out of reach with 8:07 left.
"We played a lot of young kids and had a freshman get a touchdown, and another one break a long run and touchdown," said Ensor.
King's Academy was threatening to score once again late in the fourth quarter, but a four-and-goal play was stuffed by Joey Sheets to deny the touchdown opportunity.
"We got some young kids in the game and nobody hurt, and we made some strides and go into next week with a renewed good attitude going to work on Twins Springs," said Ensor.