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Warriors hang first loss on Blue Devils

Gene Renfro • Sep 7, 2018 at 11:06 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Happy Valley played spoiler Friday night by handing Unicoi County its first loss of the season, 27-14.

“This is a direct correlation to the type of week we’ve had,” Happy Valley head coach Jason Jarrett said after the Warriors won a fifth straight meeting against the Blue Devils. “We came in 0-2 this week, but our kids were so resilient. They were so coachable, they worked hard. I was very proud of them. They responded. I can’t say enough about our kids.”

Unicoi County coach Drew Rice gave his overall take on the contest.

“We said it after the Sullivan East game — if we keep starting slow, it will eventually catch up to us,” Rice said. “They have a good football team and defensively they’re tough and bring a lot of pressure. We didn’t handle it real well tonight. We’re thankful this isn’t a league game.”

Cochran scores hat trick

Dakota Cochran totaled 70 yards on 11 touches, but the senior running back was a scoring machine. He extended a Warriors’ lead with a 3-yard touchdown dive in the first quarter, making it 13-0 in front of an excited crowd in maroon and white.

His next score was on a reception that covered 40 yards. Eli Ayers found Cochran in the middle of the field, then Cochran went the other half of the way to put Happy Valley back in front 21-14 in the final quarter.

Cochran punched across a 1-yard scoring run as well to pad the margin.

Warriors chop first

Ayers, a sophomore, found Bryce Carter for the game’s first score. Carter hauled in the 13-yard touchdown to cap the eight-play drive. The drive started after a Blue Devil three-and-out, then a partially deflected punt to give the Warriors the ball on their own 47-yard line.

Ayers went 8 of 10 passing on the evening to five receivers. Carter also made a 21-yard reception that help set up one of Cochran’s scores while Josh Hyatt had catches of 29 and 34 yards.

Unicoi County answers

A fourth-and-6 call on the Warriors’ 10 made Rice burn a timeout to decide on a play to keep the drive going or score. The later happened as Brock Thompson rolled away from pressure to his right before throwing across his body to find Austin O’Dell, who leaped for the touchdown reception. This score came 79 seconds before the halftime break.

The Blue Devils’ first drive of the second half once again came down to a fourth down. After Happy Valley’s Luke Roberts busted through for a three-yard loss for Kody Lewis, Lewis got the ball again. This time the speedy runner swept left for a 4-yard touchdown run, and Unicoi led 14-13 with 3:10 to go in the third quarter.

Lewis finished the game with 11 carries for 57 yards. Thompson went 8 for 19 through the air, but three passes were intercepted. Brett Strother was the receptionist on four passes for 43 yards.

Unicoi County saw a third opponent score first this year. Happy Valley owned its 13-0 lead while Sullivan East was up 7-0 and South Greene led 12-0 in the opener.

What’s next?

Happy Valley (1-2) welcomes Cosby for homecoming next week and a Region 1-2A meeting. Unicoi County (3-1) travels to Claiborne to step back into Region 1-3A action.

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