“It’s just a big game, it is always a big game, but how our year has started (losses to South Greene and Hampton), I think a lot of people counted us out,” Unicoi County head coach Drew Rice said. “Take nothing away from Happy Valley. They are a good football team, but that’s what makes it such a big game and big win for us. We just got it going tonight.”
The Blue Devils’ rushing duo of Kody Lewis and Diego Diaz combined for 341 yards on 39 carries.
Lewis carried the ball 18 times for 172 yards with only one rush being a negative play. He put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard for the first time with a 13-yard run 11 seconds into the second quarter. Lewis added a 5-yard touchdown scamper 16.5 seconds before the halftime break to pad the margin.
Diaz started off with runs of 14, 12 and 16 yards, and his 27-yard TD run at the mid-point of the third quarter almost put the game out of reach. He finished with 21 attempts for 169 yards and was tackled just once behind the line of scrimmage.
Before the third quarter ended, Tracy Vanover recovered a fumble in the end zone after a Isaiah Smith run. The game’s last score was a Brock Thompson quarterback plunge from a yard out.
Unicoi County scoring output was the most points allowed by the Warriors since Meigs County scored 38 in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs. It was also the first time Happy Valley had been shutout since the 2014 contest with Elizabethton, 54 games ago.
The Blue Devil defense was stout for a second straight week, yielding only 48 yards rushing on 24 attempts by the Warriors. Will Tittle had 20 yards on eight carries. Unicoi County had to stand strong early as a turnover gave the Warriors the ball at the Blue Devil 10-yard line. The Warriors could get only to the 5-yard line before giving the ball back on downs to the home side.
The win snapped the Blue Devils’ five-game skid against the Warriors. Unicoi goes into next week’s Region 1-3A and homecoming contest against Claiborne at 2-2.
Happy Valley has a 3-1 record before going to Cosby for a Region 1-2A meeting.