Leading the charge Peters, Pierce spearhead Jr. Ranger win

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

  They ran left, right and up the middle.
  Every way they went, the Hampton Junior Bulldogs had a hard time stopping them.
  In Tuesday's middle school battle at Goddard Field, Jeff Peters had 231total yards (189 rushing) while Chris Pierce added 128 rushing yards to lead the Unaka Junior Rangers to a 34-14 victory during Eighth-Grade Night.
  "We kept ourselves in the mix to play in the championship, and that's what we're playing for," said Unaka coach Matt Wilson.
  "It's good to get a win on eighth-grade night," he said. "A lot of these guys have meant a lot to the program, and I'm proud to send them to Unaka High School."
  With the return of Dustin Carden to the quarterback position, the Unaka offense showed against Hampton that it's back to top form.
  "The offense moved it well. We missed having Dustin run the show," Wilson said. "Everybody played well."
  Unaka ran the clock down before the first score of the game in the opening quarter, adding two scores in the second and third quarter.
  The 'Dogs got both of its scores in the final stanza.
  "Coach Wilson's doing a great job," said Hampton coach Kelly Oliver. "We're still rebuilding. After what we did last year, we've got a target on us. Dustin Carden's a good quarterback for them -- he's a tough player."
  "If you're going to beat a team with the talent Unaka's got, you've got to gamble," he said. "Tonight, it didn't pay off."
  After stopping Hampton on the first drive of the game, Unaka took over from its own 46 and steadily made its way down the field before Peters blasted into the end zone on a 12 yard run.
  The Rangers got going again in the second quarter with a big 25-yard run from Pierce, who later scored on a one-yard touchdown. A Peters conversion run made it 14-0.
  Just two plays later, and Unaka's number kept going up.
  On the first play of Hampton's next drive, quarterback Dustin Roberson threw one up for Peters, who took it back 42 yards to paydirt to give the Rangers a 20-0 halftime lead.
  Unaka kept it up in the third after receiving the football at its own 36.
  Peters had two gains of 16 and 12, with a 38-yard sprint from Pierce, to set up his second rushing touchdown of the game.
  A fumble on the next 'Dog drive gave Unaka room for another big run. This time, Peters bolted down the left side of the field with an 82-yard run to make it 34-0.
  Hampton kept fighting and it paid off in the fourth quarter. James Lee had a pair of 35-yard runs, while Luke Blackman bolted up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown.
  The 'Dogs then recovered an onside kick and made their way back towards the end zone on a 40-yard run from Lee.
  Blackman then came through with another big run to set up a one-yard run from Bret Price to make it 34-14.
  Lee led Hampton with 100 yards on five carries, while Blackman and Price contributed 34 and 25 yards, respectively, for the 'Dogs.