Hampton, Unaka set for annual scuffle

By C.Y. Peters
STAR Correspondent

   Hampton and Unaka will write a new chapter to their long-standing rivalry on Friday night at Goddard Field.
   When asked how this week's game would go, former Ranger standout "Big" Johnny Taylor replied, "They'll beat us as bad as they want to".
   Hampton has a real good football team this year. They have already defeated Unicoi in Erwin and Happy Valley at home.
   Mitchell Morton is one of the up-and-coming quarterbacks in East Tennessee. Morton is second in the conference in passing with 302 yards and four touchdowns.
   He receives help from his favorite receiver, Michael Peterson, who is third in the conference with 159 yards. He also has collected 382 yards rushing out of the backfield.
   Jeremy Hall has rushed for 387 yards and scored two TDs on the year as he and Peterson form a solid one-two punch. Hall run all over the Rangers in the second half last year, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown.
   His score was the winning one.
   Last year's contest saw the 'Dogs come out on top 28-22 after the Rangers led this contest 16-12 at the half. Unaka collected two of its scores on passes while the 'Dogs scored all of their points on runs.
   The Rangers are missing a huge part of last year's team. Antonio Williams, who caught two of the Ranger passes for scores in the Hampton game, has moved away.
   And by the way, if you're a Ranger fan, how can you forget, with the Rangers leading 16-12, a Unaka touchdown was called back by the head referee, which would have given Unaka a two-score lead and possibly the game.
   Coach Mickey Taylor said: "He waited seven or eight seconds before he blew the ball dead. It was a terrible call."
   The score didn't count and the 'Dogs took the lead on the next play and went on to win.
   Last week the Rangers lost with 14 seconds left to play after driving the length of the field in only one minute. Coach Mike Ensor said: "We showed people that we can play and we showed people that we don't quit when we get down. At one point last week, after Jamin Baggett had to leave the game from injury, the Rangers didn't have a senior on offense. The Rangers still rushed for over 360 yards in the game.
   The Rangers are still looking for their first win and can still make the playoffs with wins over North Greene and Cloudland.
   If Hampton beats West Greene next week in their homecoming game, they will be in the playoffs.
   The Ranger fans are still not down, there's still hope, and announcer Doug Buckles and the Creekers are looking forward to Coach Taylor and the Rangers next few years. They are winning games on Monday night playing against their age and size. They will have a lot of leadership in the next two years.
   J.C. Campbell's 'Dogs will have a easier task this week against the Rangers than they did last year. Their size and senior leadership should overwhelm the home team.