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Warriors drop heartbreaker in overtime, 12-6

BY AUSTIN ALEXANDER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
ELIZABETHTON – Happy Valley Middle played host to Unicoi County on Thursday night as an incredibly unpredictable football season can hear its swan song approaching.

Two tough defenses came to play as both implemented a very bend, but don’t break attitude. Ultimately, the two teams were knotted at six at the end of regulation, and the Blue Devils were able to grab the overtime victory, 12-6.

The Warriors would start the game with the ball and immediately hit the field with their ground attack.

Alternating runs were led by Jamie Esterline who smashed into the Unicoi defense multiple times on the opening drive with carries from Greg Vizer, Jadin Kent and Dylan Furr sprinkled in as well.

It was an absolutely unrelenting drive that spanned 16 plays and took up the entirety of the first quarter.

With the ball on the 10, the Warriors tried four times to punch in the ball but couldn’t find a score and turned the ball over on downs.

Finally, with the ball, Unicoi County started a drive and began pushing the ball down the field, but the drive quickly stalled out and the Warriors would get the ball back.

The two teams would trade a couple of possessions before the half with both offenses looking incredibly sloppy.

Coming out of the scoreless half, Unicoi County would take the opening kick to the house and put the first points of the game on the board. After a failed two-point conversion the Blue Devils would lead 6-0.

The Warriors would come back out and replicate the success from their first drive of the game pushing the ball down the field on the ground over 10 plays before again being broken down and turning the ball over on downs.

A strong Warrior defense came out the next drive forcing a turnover on the first play.

Another 10-play drive ticked down much of the 4th quarter as the Warriors needed to find a score and quickly. The drive would end, however, with a massive Unicoi County interception and the wind abruptly dropped out of the sails for Happy Valley.

Yet again, a stark Happy Valley defense coupled with some well used timeouts created a turnover on downs situation and the Warriors would get one more crack at it.

Then it was Furr time as the Warriors went to the back on three straight plays including a resilient seven-yard touchdown to tie the game. The two-point conversion was no good and the two teams would head to overtime.

After being so dominant for most of the game, the Happy Valley defense finally broke allowing a score on the first play of overtime. The conversion was again unsuccessful.

An unsportsmanlike penalty on the Warriors put them in a tough spot to start their OT possession, but again Happy Valley would feed Furr who immediately picked up all the penalty yardage.

But just two plays later, the Unicoi County defense would make the play of the game pressuring the quarterback and forcing a game-ending interception.