Rangers look to stay unbeaten


star staff


  The Unaka Rangers look to keep their undefeated record tonight, as they'll take on Grace Christian of Knoxville at Goddard Field.
  Unaka (4-0) had a tough battle with Twin Springs (Va.) last week, but the Rangers showed great resilience by coming from behind to capture the win.
  The plan for the Rangers tonight will be trying to do a better job with execution.
  "We have to eliminate mistakes early. Last week we had some miss alignments defensively that gave them an early touchdown or two," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor. "We had to play from behind and the kids didn't quit and played hard, so that's a plus."
  Unaka hopes to be more balanced this week. It had limited offense through the air vs. Twin Springs, something that hadn't been lacking in their first three wins.
  "We need to be more balanced in running and throwing the ball than what we were the other night, although we did have some key first downs with throwing the ball," Ensor said.
  The Rangers will look to add some new wrinkles in their offensive scheme while trying to move the ball.
  The thought of stopping Grace Christian will be similar to that of Twin Springs, as the Rangers face several different formations.
  "The quarterback is a great athlete and they like to utilize him," Ensor said. "They try to spread you out and move him and get underneath, and that's what we've seen the past couple of weeks from the teams we've faced."
  Grace Christian will look to run the option, so it will take some discipline and patience in playing assignment football.
  "We want to keep pressure on the quarterback, but we want to keep him inside the pocket and force him up inside and not let him get outside," Ensor said. "He's their best player, so we're going to try and take that away from them and make them beat us with somebody else."
  In the Rangers' key win last week, they had another new face step up and lead the charge on their way to victory.
  Senior Cody Hurley had contributed the first three games, but last Friday's effort saw Hurley lead the team by scoring all three Ranger touchdowns.
  "We've had someone new step up every game, and in week one it was kind of a team effort with Charles Lee having a good game," Ensor said. "Week two it was John Zimmerman and Daniel McInturff, and week three it was another team effort."
  Hurley had over 100 all-purpose yards along at Twin Springs, with freshman Jeff Wilson helping to carry the load.
  "Last week it was kind of the fullbacks' turn with Jeff Wilson and Cody Hurley, who had all three touchdowns," Ensor said. "Jeff had some big runs and good plays for us, and defensively we had some new kids step in and play well. It seems like we have someone new every week step up, and that's good. You don't want to have just one guy they can key on."