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Blue Devils leave behind Longhorns in second half

Gene Renfro • Updated Nov 2, 2019 at 12:49 AM

MOUNTAIN CITY — Both teams knew a home playoff game was at stake. Unicoi County was ready to seize the opportunity.

Cutting loose for 28 second-half points, the Blue Devils registered a 34-0 football win at Johnson County on Friday night to conclude regular-season play in Region 1-3A.

With the outcome, Unicoi County welcomes Gatlinburg-Pittman to Gentry Stadium next week in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs. The meeting will be the first between the two programs since 2014.

Meanwhile, Johnson County travels to Austin-East, the Region 2-3A runner-up, for the opening round. The other first-round contests featuring Region 1-3A teams have Chuckey-Doak hosting Kingston and West Greene going to Alcoa.

“When we lost the Chuckey-Doak game we said that we had to beat West Greene and Johnson County,” Unicoi County head coach Drew Rice said. “At that point the best we could do is finish second and host a playoff game. We put ourselves in a position to do that. That’s a credit to these guys and I thought we played really well. I’m proud of the way we played and the way we closed the game.”

The Blue Devils enter the postseason with a 6-4 record, which includes a 4-1 mark in league play for a second straight season. Johnson County finished the regular season at 4-6 and 3-2 against conference foes.

Gatlinburg-Pittman beat Kingston 37-21 Friday to determine third and fourth in Region 2-3A.

Kody Lewis did his part for the Blue Devils again. The senior scored three touchdowns as part of his 187 yards on 24 carries. He also caught a pair of passes for another 43 yards. The rushing put him over 1,400 rushing yards on the season and he finished the regular season with 26 scores on the ground.

Lewis ran for an 11-yard TD on the opening drive after a 41 yard-gallop moved Unicoi County into the red zone. The third quarter saw him produce the other two touchdowns — from 37 and 6 yards out.

Brock Thompson was 5-for-10 for 105 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to Evan Huff in the third quarter.

Diego Diaz closed the scoring for Unicoi County in the middle of the fourth with a 19-yard run. That gave him nine carries for 72 yards.

The Longhorns had 10 different players touch the ball as Stacy Greer rushed for 62 yards on 12 carries. Lucas Phillips caught three passes for 19 yards as Johnson County totaled 199 yards on the offensive side of the ball.

The Blue Devils’ defense posted its second shutout of the season, with the last coming against Happy Valley on Sept. 13. That marked the third straight season with two shutouts for Unicoi County and the fourth in the last 15 regular-season contests.

Furthermore, Unicoi won for the first time in Mountain City since 2011. The Longhorns prevailed in the three previous meetings on their home field.

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