Unaka attempts to keep Doak out of win column

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   The Unaka Rangers will attempt to turn things around this Thursday after a disappointing performance last week, as they try to knock off the Black Knights of Chuckey-Doak.
   The Rangers were blanked in their last game against North Greene, which was the first time to be shutout this season.
   "I think the kids came into last week thinking they had it won, and I tried to tell them all week that North Greene had a pretty good football team," said Unaka head coach Mike Ensor.
   A lack of effort on the practice field was tribute to their worst outing, according to the coaching staff, but this week they tried to get back to the basics in order to get back on track.
   "We had a better week in practice," Ensor said. "We got back to the fundamentals and a little more contact, and we're back to working on blocking and tackling more."
   One of the things that might plague the Rangers on Thursday is the fact that they will be missing a couple of key players.
   "We lost a Andrew Richardson in practice already this week, and also Jeremy Cook, who was injured in last week's game," said Ensor.
   Cook will miss the rest of the season, due to a MCL to the knee, and Richardson has been banged up all season long with the same type of injury.
   "Andrew has broke his hand, and this week he was supposed to get the cast off, and now he gets his leg rolled upon in practice," said Ensor.
   Unaka's offense last game was ineffective, as it seemed to not be able to make a big play or capitalize off the long drives.
   "Last week we could never seem to get the outside going, and having to move Irick to quarterback we had to move Joey Parlier to tailback," said Ensor.
   Parlier rushed for 126 yards last game, but never quite got the breakaway the Rangers needed.
   "He's very well going to past a 1,000 yards on Thursday night, but he's not the kind of kid that's going to get 40, 50, or 60 yards at a time," Ensor said. "He doesn't have the speed to put it on the corner."
   The fastest player on the team is freshman Charles Guinn, who lines up in the backfield at times, but don't expect to see him carry the ball to often.
   "We're still being selective on how we run our young kids, and we're not going to sacrifice them when they have a chance of being something special for the next three years," said Ensor.
   In last week's contest, Unaka had chances of making the play on defense, but just came up short on making the tackles.
   "Going back and looking at the film, we had kids in good situations to make plays all night, and we didn't get the job done," Ensor said. "We had four yard losses that turned into 40-yard gains."
   Ensor says that breaking tackles is contributed to strength, which is much needed if they intend to improve.
   "When they run the ball hard, then their going to run through arm tackles, and you've got to put a body on them," Ensor said. "We're not strong enough to make them arm tackles right now."
   Ensor feels like if he can get the kids into the weight room, then the problems their having right now will take care of itself.
   "You have to make kids accountable and set some guidelines and groundrules down and not give them an option, and if you're going to play football here then you're going to lift weights and commit yourself to it," said Ensor.
   To be able to get stronger, faster and bigger, then the kids are going to have to commit themselves to the off-season, says Ensor.
   With one win under their belt, they look to add another one in the battle against winless Chuckey Doak.
   "They're a better team than what their record indicates," Ensor said. "Their big and have some veteran with a new coach and staff."
   Ben Murphy is the new head coach for the Black Knights, and quite a few changes have happened since he took over.
   "I think he ran off some dead wood when he came in," Ensor said. "He had some kids that weren't doing what had to be done as far as attitudes go," said Ensor. "He lost some talent, but he did what he felt like was going to better his program, and you have to admire him for that."
   Look for A.J. Pricenor to lead Chuckey Doak on the ground, which Unaka must be able to contain in order to win this game.
   "They're a pretty good football team," Ensor said. "They've got good backs, they're good up front, and they get to the ball aggressively on defense, and they're definitely not an 0-10 team."
   Chuckey-Doak will try to sneak out of Stoney Creek with their first win on the season, so look for them to be up for this affair.
   "I think they will be very fired up this week. They look at us as a chance to get a win," said Ensor.