Rangers on road tonight

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com
After a heartbreaking loss this past Friday, the Unaka Rangers travel to Seymour, where they look to take their frustration out on Grace Christian, in high school football action tonight.
"We've got a great senior bunch which is very upbeat, and even that way today after having the hard weekend, with basically the game being ripped out of their hands," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor. "They're still a little bit on the mad side, and it's going to be interesting to see. Their opponent will be looking at an angry bunch which still thinks they have a game taken away from them."
Not much is known about Grace Christian -- a team in its second year of existence -- except for the fact they are not gifted with a lot of experience out on the field.
"I haven't been able to find anything out about them, and what we do know is that they're a predominately Pro-I team with decent speed that throws the ball a little bit," said Ensor. "We're bigger than them and definitely have more experience, with them being a two-year program."
With not knowing exactly what to expect, the Rangers just simply geared their focus on what mistakes they have made, and not so much on worry about what's going to be thrown their way.
"We went over mistakes we had made and just worked more on us than we did them," said Ensor. "We'll make adjustments when we go out, but we're more worried about our mistakes. They haven't had time to put in a total package for us."
The Rangers (1-3) were in a slobber-knocker type game with Twin Springs (Va.) last week, losing a controversial 19-18 decision, but were fortunate in being able to walk away without any critical injuries.
"We're actually very healthy, but we took some bumps and bruises, just like everyone else has going into the fifth week of the season," said Ensor. "If we make it through Tuesday night healthy, then that will give us a 10-day layoff for our next game, and that's huge."
There's a few Unaka players who have felt the brutal demand of the season so far, but it hasn't kept any of the Ranger core from being able to compete.
"Cody Hurley has a tender spot on his collar bone, and Brent Huskins has a slightly separated AC joint in his shoulder, but it stuff they played through last week and we hope to get them through this week also," said Ensor.
Another key player on the Ranger roster who is suffering from a slight injury is senior lineman Kasey Garland.
Several times Garland was able to penetrate the Twin Springs backfield in its winning drive, but with a sprained ankle, he wasn't able to come off with the speed needed to track down their scrambling quarterback.
"Kasey Garland and Travis Pasquale have both turned an ankles this season, and those things really don't have enough time to heal, but they get to where there not as sore and you tape them up and go on," said Ensor. "Hopefully, we'll get through the game and get some younger player in if the game goes like we think it might."
One advantage to playing early in the week and having the extra layoff is that Unaka has to travel to Cosby next week, which is crucial as far as the conference race goes.
"This will give them 10 days to heal up, and going into a big conference game with Cosby for possible a playoff spot will give us a chance to scout them inside and out," said Ensor. "It's almost having an open week, and the next game could very well for third place in the conference, maybe even second if someone should knock off North Greene."
Senior fullback Joey Parlier had been ailing from a stomach problems all year long, but he seemed to be returning to form last week, as made his return back to the backfield for a couple of carries.
"We finally found out what was wrong with him. He had severe acid reflux, which is even worse on a nervous stomach," said Ensor. "We're going to try to get him back in the backfield, which gives us a little different dimension than what (Andrew) Richardson or (Charles) Guinn does."
Parlier will not only be returning to his old familiar spot on offense, but also heads to a previously to played position on defense.
"We moved Joey to outside linebacker last week, which is something he hasn't done since he was a sophomore," said Ensor. "He came up to make some good plays, so we're just going to leave him there."
As far as the Rangers with their offense, no one has quite ignited the spark that sophomore Charles Guinn has this season.
Guinn has rushed for nearly 600 yards in four games this season, and with his agility and speed his stats will surely continue to increase.
"Charles has gotten better throughout the year, and he's up to around 600 yards now, and maybe even go as high as 1,300 or 1,400 before the season ends, which is pretty impressive," said Ensor. "This year we knew he was going to be one of the feature backs, and it has taken some of the pressure off our fullbacks.
"He could possibly be the most featured back in the area a couple of years from now."