Rangers fall victim to Black Knights

By Marvin Birchfield

   What was looking to be a potential victory for Unaka, turned sour in the fourth quarter of play, as Chuckey Doak get their first win on the season in a 22-8 final.
   "The wind was taken out of us and we quit, but I do have to say that we're going into the ball game without three very good starters, and then lose another in the second quarter. We just can't recover from that as thin as we are already," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor.
   The Rangers led the affair almost for half of the contest, before two late turnovers changed the complexion of the game.
   "We go from being up 8-6 moving the ball and eating up the clock to being down, and once they scored our kids hung their heads and folded the tents," said Ensor.
   Unaka came out with a strong defensive stand by holding the Black Knights on their first series, with tackles for a loss coming from Joey Parlier and Josh Jones.
   The Rangers drove the ball down the field on their first possession, but the same old story of the year of moving it between the 20's, then coming to a stop as Unaka got into scoring range came into play once again.
   Chuckey-Doak put together a nice drive themselves the next time they were on offense, but a fumble by AJ Pricenor and recovery from Rusty Holtsclaw ended at the Unaka 30 yard-line.
   The Black Knights executed on their next possession, when they fed the ball to Justin Hill, who ran in for a nine yard score.
   "I just tried to come up with big plays for that's what my coach expects, so I did it for him and my teammates," said Hill.
   Chuckey Doak had drawn first blood in the contest with 3:45 left in the half, leading 6-0.
   On the kick-off the tide of momentum turned for the Rangers, when Charles Guinn decided to pick up the ball and run with it after he had touched it.
   Guinn made it to the side-line, and exploded on an 81-yard touchdown return, as he outran three Black Knight defenders to tie the contest.
   "To tell you the truth I thought I would never make it, but I had good blocks and just ran the ball," said Guinn.
   Brandon Irick completed a pass to Josh Jones in the end-zone to add the two-point conversion, and give Unaka an 8-6 lead going into half-time.
   Unaka started the second-half on the first series like they did in the beginning of the game.
   The Rangers were able to get it inside the Chuckey Doak 30 yard-line, but that was as far as the drive went.
   It was the same thing for Unaka on the defensive side of the ball also, as Cody Hurley and Scooter Berry made tackles for losses in the back-field.
   Unaka had clung to their two-point lead all the way throughout the third quarter, and a turnover early in the fourth, appeared as if it was going to be just another long night for the Black Knights.
   Scooter Berry made the first initial hit on Nick Havers, followed by a tackle from Jones that knocked the ball loose with Guinn pouncing on the recovery.
   "We tried and did our best at practice and gave it everything we had, but we're going to have to hit the weight room next year if we expect to do anything," said Guinn.
   But the play that changed the outcome of the game came on the Rangers next possession on offense.
   With Parlier running for close to 1,000 yards on the season, he got three straight hand-offs before disaster struck for the Rangers.
   Hill was able to strip the ball and take it to the house on a 60 yard fumble recovery with 9:08 left in the game.
   "We were in the ball game, but I think we got a bad call, because forward momentum was stopped and they ripped the ball out of the pile-up and take it and score," said Ensor.
   This was a crushing blow to the team's moral, after fighting-off the challenge of Chuckey-Doak, nearly all game long.
   Next time Unaka got the ball they tried to take advantage of having one defender covering two wide-outs.
   But Hill came up with a big play again, as he made the break on the pass from Irick to return it for 58 yards, only to have a touchdown called back on a clip.
   "We've had a hard time by getting the breaks this year and that's been a lot of our problems, but we finally got the ball bouncing our way and it's sweet," said Chuckey Doak coach Ben Murphy.
   Two huge runs by Hill and a ten yard gain from Steven Gaddis set-up the Black Knights last score of the night.
   "Justin Hill is really our second string tailback replacing our first stringer who got hurt, and he kept on saying feed me the ball and we did," said Murphy.
   A two-yard plunge into the end-zone from Hill gave Chuckey Doak a two-touchdown lead to seal their first victory of the year with three and a half minutes to go.
   "I'm just glad we finally got a victory for I've been waiting on this my whole senior year, and I'm happy we got it," said Hill.
   The Rangers had the ball for one last series, but time on the clock became their worst enemy, as it ran out after crossing inside the Black Knight 35 yard-line.
   "This win would have felt a lot better about seven weeks ago, but I'm more happy for the boys than anything," said Murphy.