Titans good test for Rangers

Unaka aims to averge 1 - point loss from '03


star staff

  The toughest test for Unaka on the season will come tonight as it travels to Twin Springs, Va., in an effort to avenge last year's heartbreaking loss.
  It came down to the last play of the game with a touchdown run from just outside the goal line to decide a 19-18 final.
  This time around it will take a near-perfect game from both clubs to pull out the decision, as the two teams are evenly matched.
  "We're a lot like them, but they possibly have a little bit of size advantage with a big fullback and a pretty good quarterback," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor. "We probably throw the ball just a little more than what they do, so hopefully that will give us a little advantage there."
  The biggest question at the moment is what will the weather be like?
  The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but with the threat of Hurricane Ivan, the game was bumped up to Thursday.
  "With the wind and rain it could limited our throwing and misdirection, but it might also limit their running the option," said Ensor.
  The option is something Unaka hasn't seen a lot of so far, and if the Rangers are not patient, then it could catch them off guard with the reeling off of a big time play.
  "We're hoping to show enough discipline and be job-oriented and play the position, because we don't want to get sucked in and have them run a couple of big plays and take it to the house," Ensor said. "We can't afford to have a breakdown. We can't let them have more than six or seven yards at a time."
  The Rangers had a solid week of practice, and they seem to be looking forward to coming out and having a good showing.
  "Our kids seemed to be more focused than what they were last week," said Ensor. "We had a good week of practice with everybody having very good work ethic and positive attitudes."
  Unaka has proven that it can run or throw the ball thus far, but a big play in the passing game or with the return team could be the key of success.
  "I'd really like to see our backs have a good game," said Ensor. "It will come down to the team that makes the plays through the air or on special team will probably be the team that wins.
  "It's important to do the fundamental things also and not make too many mistakes."
  While Unaka is 3-0 on the season so far, Twin Springs suffered their first loss with a 41-16 final against Chilhowee last week.
  Twin Springs led the game after the first period, but they couldn't stop the Warriors in the second period. The Titans will definitely have their work cut out this week against Unaka.
  "They're a good ball team because they've already won their first three games," said Twin Springs coach Sarge Reed. "I look for them to come out ready to play."
  Tempers flared and emotions were high last year after the contest ended, as the brewing for a fierce rivalry was on the verge.
  "We're just looking to go out and play football," Reed said. "Hopefully both teams will show good sportsmanship when they walk off the field."
  It's uncertain on how well the Titans will perform, but you'd better believe that they're intending to take it to the Rangers and give them their first loss of the season.
  "You never know how the game is going to turn out," Reed said. "Trying to dictate the flow of the game is beyond one's control a lot of times."