Pearson serves as boon to Unaka football team

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR STAFF
mbirchfield@starhq.com
In his senior year at Unaka High School, Scott Pearson has contributed to new-found Ranger success. Able to win just one game in each of the last two seasons, the Rangers have enjoyed four victories this year, with last-place Jellico left to play.
"Everybody has come together this year, and our practice has been better with a lot more intensity to just get it done," said Pearson, who has brought leadership to the team by spreading excitement and rallying his club to become inspired.
"I just try to keep everybody fired up, and do what I can to keep the emotions high on the sidelines," he said.
The most memorable moment of Pearson's career came earlier this season when Unaka took on Twin Springs of Virginia. Unaka experienced a heartbreaking loss with a final score of 19-18, with the winning touchdown scored during the last play of the game.
"(The) most memorable game of my career is probably the battle we had with Twin Springs," said Pearson. "We didn't win, but it was a real good game and a rough one."
Pearson highlighted the night by picking off a pass and returning it 33 yards to set up a six-yard run by Charles Guinn to tie the contest.
One of Pearson's low points this season came when he dropped a couple of interceptions against Cosby. "That was the most disappointing game I've played. I dropped a couple of interceptions that I should have had," he said.
Nevertheless, Unaka was able to dominate the battle, posting a 46-20 victory and placing them at .500 for the season. Unaka players get along well with each other, an important goal in the attempt to make a turn-around and obtain success.
"We've got a pretty tight-knit group; everybody runs around together," said Pearson.
The Rangers have drastically improved, and, according to coach Mike Ensor, much of that success is owed to Pearson's mental presence and loyalty. "The thing I like about Scott that impresses me is his toughness," Ensor said. "He's not that big, not that fast, or not that strong, but he's always there to help make the tackle. He's had two or three concussions already, but he's the kind of kid you want on your side if you're about to fight in a dark alley. He's not going to leave your side, and he reminds you of being one of the tough kids that I grew up with on Stoney Creek."
Pearson's approach in practicing the game has also caught the eye of Ensor, and Pearson has gained respect among peers.
"He definitely comes out and works hard, and he might not be the greatest athlete, but he's smart and brings what he has coming to work every day," said Ensor. "There's been times he's struggled, but he always kept coming back and never quit.
"We moved him to the safety position the last three or four games and it seems to be working out well for us."
Outside of football, Pearson has a deep passion for fast cars, and he plans to make a career in the automobile industry.
"When I graduate, I plan heading to Nashville Auto Diesel College and go to school for a year," said Pearson. "After going for a year you can get certified and get a job at almost any dealership."
Pearson is enrolled in auto body mechanics at Unaka, which has helped him get a head start on his future plans.
"I worked at Pearson's Auto Body for about a year and a half, but I finally decided to quit because it was just too much running with trying to play football," he said.
Pearson's family also owns a drag car which is also an integral part of his life. "I've got a drag car setting behind my Uncle's garage right now," he said. "It's a '53 Pontiac Chief. It's been sitting back there since I was two, and now I've just got the motor and suspension back in it. All of my family has done a little bit of it, and my dad raced that car."
Hopefully, Carter Countians will see Pearson smoking the tires at Bristol Dragway in the future, with competitors chasing a hot-rod that has been in his family for years. "Bristol is where I hope to run it at, and I can't wait to take it over there," he said. "If I had my choice of cars, though, it would be a jet black '69 Camaro."
Pearson's most relaxing hobby, however, is hunting, he said. He's had previous success in deer hunting and plans to head out once muzzle loading and rifle season starts.
"I like hunting," said Pearson. "Deer hunting, squirrel hunting, or actually any kind of hunting that there is. I've killed a couple of does and a four-point buck last year. I don't bow hunt, though. I probably wouldn't have too much success trying to hit one with a bow.
"I usually do most of my hunting in Virginia. There's all kinds running around up there."
Best of luck to this tough old Ranger, and hopefully his hard work will be an inspiration to kids who follow in his footsteps.