Rangers whip Oakdale, 40-8


Photo By Kristen Luther
Unakaƕs Charles Guinn had a four-touchdown game for the Rangers.

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com
For the second week in a row the Unaka Rangers plucked the feathers of a team nicknamed the Eagles, defeating Oakdale 40-8 on Friday night at Goddard Field and improving to 4-3 on the season.
Sophomore tailback Charles Lee Guinn showcased the Unaka performance by scoring three touchdowns on the ground and one by reception as Unaka controlled the line play throughout the contest.
"Our offensive line finally took over the game and dominated, and that's what we were looking to do," said Unaka coach Mike Ensor. "We were a little bit older than them up front and I think that was a lot to our success."
A turnover from the Rangers on their first play from scrimmage gave Oakdale excellent field position, but the defense held stopping the Eagles down at the 22-yard line.
Unaka committed its second turnover on the next possession of offense, when Cody Hurley was intercepted deep in the Rangers own territory.
"I think we had a few distractions with homecoming and everything -- we turned the ball over a couple of times," said Ensor. "These were things we haven't been doing, but once we settled down we started to take over."
Fortunately for the Rangers, Oakdale had its problems also, losing a total of six fumbles on the night, with the first one coming at Unaka's 18-yard line.
The Rangers went three-and-out on their next serie, which forced them to punt, but a fumbled snap from center gave them the ball right back at the 32 of the Eagles, with Tory Morton making the recovery.
Unaka decided to feed it to its feature back Guinn from that point, as he carried the ball three times finishing with a 19-yard run to give the Rangers a 7-0 lead with 4:40 left in the first period.
Oakdale didn't have much success in moving the ball on the ground or through the air, as Kasey Garland crushed the Eagle quarterback Coty Powers almost causing a fumble.
"Our defense is continuing to get stronger and stronger, and we've been practicing so hard that you can only get better," said Garland.
Unaka capitalized off another fumble when Garland pounced on the ball at the Eagle 20 yard line.
"Our secondary is improving and we've been able to shut the run down all season," said Garland. "This is 100 times different from last year, and this is our first winning record since 1991 and it feels great."
Three plays later Guinn made the bounce to the outside rushing in for a 12-yard touchdown.
Another mistake by the Eagles gave the Rangers' excellent field position again when a bad snap on a punt resulted in a 13-yard loss, with Unaka taking over at the 30.
After a nine-yard run from Cody Hurley up the middle, Joey Parlier got the carry to bull his way in from one yard out with 10:43 left in the second period.
"Everybody came out playing hard, and it feels great to be able to win our homecoming," said Hurley. "We couldn't ask for our line to block any better, so they did their job and played hard."
The Eagles had very few chances of putting points on the board in the first half, and a 43-yard field goal attempt was well short.
In almost every game this season, Guinn has had a touchdown called back. He had one called back in this contest as a holding penalty negated a 51-yard scoring jaunt.
"It's real frustrating when you have a touchdown called back, but that's going to happen sometimes," Guinn said. "And these are my teammates, so you can't get mad at anyone."
The Rangers enjoyed a 21-0 lead at halftime, and they continued to dominate through the third and fourth periods.
Oakdale problems with fumbling the snap persisted at the start the second half, with senior Scott Pearson coming up with the ball at the Eagles 43 .
A 19-yard run from Brandon Irick on the quarterback keeper around the left end helped set up a two-yard plunge by Guinn, giving Charles Lee his third touchdown on the ground.
"We keep working on the same things and especially on ball exchanges -- fumbles can end up killing you," said Irick. "I've also seen a big difference in our defense. Last year we gave up big plays but now we are stopping them and making them drive it."
After making his first three attempts on extra points, Daniel McInturff narrowly missed his fourth try, as the Rangers led 27-0 with 7:36 left in the third quarter.
Oakdale committed its fifth fumble of the game when Chris Richardson and Joe Estep combined to hammer the quarterback and knock the ball loose, with the Rangers making the recovery.
A 23-yard pass from Irick to Brent Huskins got the Rangers out of a third-and-long situation, and a 25-yard run from Hurley increased Unaka's advantage to 33-0 at the end of the third.
"I give all the credit to completing my passes tonight to the line up front. If I didn't have time to throw it, then I couldn't have got the passes off," said Irick.
Unaka struck again early in the fourth when Irick completed a pass to Guinn around midfield that went for 81 yards, giving Guinn four touchdowns on the night.
"It was a perfect pass from Irick. He laid it up there and all I had to was run under it," said Guinn. "I was open and Irick did a good job throwing it, so all I had to do was run then."
McInturff added the extra-point attempt bringing his total to four PAT on the game, as Unaka decided to finally call off the dogs.
Oakdale finally put some points on the board when lineman Charles Cofer got the call and carried the ball in to score from six yards away.
The Rangers improve to one win above .500 on the season, which has been long time coming for the Unaka program.
"We're going to have to come in next week and go to work," Ensor said. "We have Cloudland, and we're going to come in and play as hard as we can play and let where the chips fall where they may."