Unaka upends Claiborne, 34-8

Published 5:38 pm Monday, October 10, 2022

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Claiborne County Sports Zone

Unaka beat host Claiborne 34-8 on Friday to put a dent in the Bulldogs’ homecoming celebration.

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Yhe Bulldogs needed a lift due to losing Austin Murrell and Josh Bolton both due to injury. Coming to the backfield to help Cole Jones was Jake Smith, Ryan Olson and Aden Roark.

The offense was a question mark, but the defense seemed to be the ones that would be most challenged due to the spread offense of the Rangers.

Claiborne kicked off to Unaka to start the game, but penalties hurt the Rangers as they faced a third down and 40. At 9:03 remaining in the opening quarter the Rangers were forced to punt.

The Bulldogs went to the run to start their first drive. Cole Jones went six yards but later the Bulldogs were forced with a fourth and short. Claiborne called a Zay Gerrells sneak for the first down, but a fumble one play later turned the ball over to the Rangers. Three plays later Unaka scored. The two-point conversion failed, 6-0 Rangers.

The Bulldogs took possession and then ran for a first down. Jones kept running hard and completed a second first down run. Ryan Olson added some positive runs making it third down and two. Freshman Aden Roark ran for the first down, but time ran out in first quarter, 6-0 Unaka.

The Bulldogs scored after a reception by Tyrell Miles and a Jones run followed by a quarterback sneak by Gerrells. The conversion was also completed by Gerrells and the Bulldogs led 8-6. It was their only lead of the game.

The Bulldogs forced a turnover on downs and took possession on the Rangers 41. The Bulldogs offense struggled with penalties and were faced with a fourth and long. Claiborne punted, and the Rangers took over on their 41-yard line with 8:22. At 6:45 Unaka scored their second touchdown of the night. The conversion failed, 12-8 Rangers.

The Bulldogs started their next drive on their 35. Running yards were tough so Gerrells went to the air and completed a pass to Isaac Daniels. The first half ended 12-8.

After the class princess’s selection, Amanda Brinkley was named 2022 CHS Homecoming Queen.

Ryan Olson escorting Homecoming Queen Amanda Brinkley

The second half began with a Unaka kickoff. The Bulldogs drive went backwards, and they were forced to attempt a punt and the Rangers took little time scoring. They increased the score to 20-8.

On Claiborne’s next drive they moved the ball but turned it over on downs to Unaka who scored once again but missed on the conversion making the score 26-8.

From that moment on, the Bulldogs looked to have lost their bite, but the defense made a stand until 2:11 left in the third. The Rangers scored again and made the two-point conversion to extend their lead out to 34-8.

The Bulldogs then tossed an interception giving the ball right back to Unaka as the third quarter ended, 34-8.