Area teams step outside region to play familiar foes

Douglas Fritz • Sep 13, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Two non-region rivalry games highlight Friday’s football schedule.

Volunteer plays host to Sullivan East while Happy Valley hits the road to battle Unicoi County.

Falcons’ head coach Justin Pressley said East will give his team multiple looks and formations.

“They can run the wing-T really well, and this year it looks like they have added the spread to their attack,” said Pressley.

Meanwhile, Happy Valley head coach Jason Jarrett said the Blue Devils bring a quick-strike threat to the field.

“Unicoi’s offense is extremely explosive,” said Jarrett. “No. 9 (Kody Lewis) is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.”

Both games are scheduled for kickoff at 7:30 p.m.


Pressley said his team needs to do the basics well.

“We will have to play fundamentally sound assignment football,” he said. “No. 19 (East quarterback Dylan White) is a good athlete, and we will have to put some pressure on him early.”

Volunteer lost to private school Christian Academy of Knoxville before beating Sullivan Central. The Falcons fell to David Crockett last week, 48-19.

“We have improved each week, and I expect us to continue to show improvement this week,” said Pressley. “I have been very proud of the way our guys have practiced and worked every day this year. They understand if we keep improving we can have a very good season.”

East saw a 13-point lead slip away in the second half against Johnson County in its opener, and the Patriots were whipped 63-9 by Elizabethton last week.


The Blue Devils are coming off a game where everything fell into place right off the bat. Unicoi racked up 30 points in the first quarter and had 51 by halftime in the 65-6 win over North Greene.

Brock Thompson threw for 218 yards and three scores.

“Their quarterbacks and wide receivers look to have great chemistry and timing, which allows them to stretch the field vertically,” said Jarrett. “Their offensive line is also physical.”

Defensively, Jarrett said the Blue Devils get runners to the ground.

“They fly to the ball and are great tacklers,” he said. “Unicoi is stacked with athletes all over the field. They play with great confidence and are extremely well coached.”

Jarrett said his team needs to clean up penalties and find a way to finish in the red zone.

“We have not been able to finish about eight drives during the first three games,” he said. “It is usually due to a penalty or mental error. We must get that corrected.”


This is a test for the Chiefs as the Trojans have been effective on offense.

West is averaging 21 points per game and was competitive in losses to William Blount and Jefferson County.

The Chiefs, who haven’t beaten the Trojans since 2013, will look to ride the momentum from three tight victories this year.


After one blowout loss and one blowout win, the Vikings look to tame their crosstown rival.


The Rebels have won eight straight games in this interstate series.

South is coming off a much-needed region win while Gate City is recovering from a tough loss to Abindgon.


Wins have been hard to come by for both teams, but one of them will earn their first this season.

Both squads were 1-9 last year. Once a regular playoff contender, the Tigers have lost 14 of their last 16 games.


The Black Knights have played a difficult schedule so far: private-school power Knox Catholic, undefeated Happy Valley and stubborn Johnson County.

This will be a good test for the Raiders, who are coming off a 57-point explosion against Cosby. That’s the most points North has scored since September of 2017.

CLOUDLAND (0-2) at HAMPTON (1-2)

The Highlanders are looking for their first win, but won’t get sympathy from the Bulldogs — who are dealing with the aftereffects of a last-minute 14-8 loss to rival Happy Valley.

Cloudland has won two straight in this longtime rivalry.

UNAKA (1-2) at CLAIBORNE (1-2)

This figures to be a tough battle for the Rangers.

Claiborne has scored at least 28 points in every game, and its two losses were by nine and three points. Unaka has allowed 110 points in three games.

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