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Blue Devils best Warriors in rivalry game, 35-6

BY AUSTIN ALEXANDER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
ERWIN – There’s always bad blood in the air when the Happy Valley Warriors and the Unicoi County Blue Devils get together. One of the storied rivalries of Northeast Tennessee got another installment on Friday night with the Warriors making the trip up the interstate to Erwin.

Coming in underdogs, Happy Valley simply couldn’t muster enough to rally against the favored Blue Devils falling, 35-6.

The first quarter didn’t get off to an ideal start for the Warriors as the Blue Devils would elect to receive and make the most of it. On the first play from scrimmage, Blue Devil’s running back Nehemiah Edwards busted to the outside and rumbled 63 yards for the opening score of the game.

The PAT would make it 7-0 after just a few seconds.

Happy Valley hoped to crush any momentum before things got out of hand quickly, but a stout Blue Devils defense forced a three and out. An errant snap over the punter’s head would sail out of the back of the end zone and in just over a minute, the Warriors trailed by nine points.

Following the free kick to the Blue Devils, the Warriors defense needed to make a stop. Faced with a quick third down, the Unicoi County offense picked up the yardage needed and then some to move the ball inside the 10.

The Warriors defense pushed the opposition to the brink, but on third and goal, the Blue Devils finally punched it in. After a missed PAT, the score sat at 15-0.

Happy Valley’s next drive looked doomed to yet another three and out, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Warriors new life. Reagan Ensor and Andrew Little split carries gaining very little, but the offense was once again bailed out by a Blue Devil penalty.

Despite the freebies the Warriors were getting, the Unicoi County defense stiffened up when it counted most and forced the turnover on downs.

The Warrior defense decided they were fed up, led by Landon Babb, as they forced their first three and out of the game on the following drive.

This was only met with another dry possession for the Warriors which concluded with a booming punt from Cameron Cochran.

The ensuing drive was a punishing one from the Blue Devils an eight-play drive capped off by a touchdown pass that extended Unicoi County’s lead to 22-0.

The Warriors needed something and they needed it quickly.

A stiff defense got the Blue Devils the ball back, but then came a potential turning point for Happy Valley. Drew Blevins read a route to perfection diving in front of the pass and picking it off.

With the ball back in hand, three straight runs from Andrew Little saw the Warriors finally find paydirt.

The only issue was that the Warriors left enough time on the clock for one more Unicoi drive and the Blue Devils would make it count. Heading into halftime, Happy Valley trailed 28-6.

A fumbled kickoff from the Warriors pretty much set the tone for the second half as the two teams nearly came to blows as the rivalry began to boil over.

Once things got calmed down, the Blue Devils would take the ball and be in the red zone. The Warrior defense then made an all-out stand which was capped with a fourth-down sack from Babb.

The Happy Valley offense once again could find nothing as Pedro Colunga crashed into the Unicoi front over and over. They just couldn’t find the answers.

The two teams seemed to have come to a less than gentlemen’s agreement at this point to just keep things the same as both teams drained the clocks on drives that seemed fairly unproductive.

In the blink of an eye, the clock hit zero and the Blue Devils had claimed victory, 35-6.