BY SCOTT R. FISHER
A team must come mentally prepared to play. Otherwise, the outcome will not be what the team expects.
The North Greene Huskies (2-7, 2-4 in Region 1-A) did not come ready Friday night against conference foe Unaka. The result was a 38-6 drubbing from the Rangers.
"We did not come mentally prepared to play," North Greene head coach Scotty Verran said. "We did not play a good football game."
Verran said the mental mistakes hurt his football team. The Huskies piled up 85 yards in penalties and turned the ball over twice.
Unaka found the end zone on its first three possessions of the contest and held a 20-0 lead heading into the intermission.
The Rangers scored their first touchdown on a nine play, 76-yard drive that lasted three and a half minutes. Austin Anderson did most of the heavy lifting on the drive.
Anderson scored on a 28-yard dash with 4:36 remaining in the first quarter. He also caught a pass that covered 10 yards.
North Greene did not respond well to falling behind 6-0. After gaining a little momentum offensively, the team fumbled the ball away.
Unaka took advantage of the turnover and marched 53 yards in just under two minutes to add to their lead. Once again it was Anderson carrying the ball across the goal line.
Anderson's TD was a 14-yard run with two second left in the opening quarter.
Despite moving the ball far into the Rangers' zone, North Greene appeared to gain a little momentum. Tyler Bailey's punt pinned Unaka at their own four yard-line.
The Rangers were stuffed on two running plays and the Huskies' defense was fired up. That quickly changed, though.
Eli Rasnick connected with Micah Hunt on a pass behind the North Greene defense. Hunt raced to the end zone with no defender able to catch him. The scoring play covered 97 yards.
"That play broke our momentum," Verran said.
With 8:50 remaining before halftime, the Huskies trailed 20-0 and had not stopped the Ranger offense.
Things appeared to get even worse for the home team. Bailey had a pass intercepted by Hunt that he returned for a touchdown. The return covered 75 yards.
Fortunately for the Huskies, Unaka was flagged for a block in the back that brought the points off the scoreboard.
North Greene's defense stiffened and held the Rangers. The Huskies forced a fumble and Jacob Isham came up with the loose football.
The North Greene offense could not take advantage of the turnover, though.
The first half ended with Bailey intercepting a pass from Rasnick to keep the score 20-0.
Any momentum the Huskies might have had coming out of the intermission quickly evaporated.
The Rangers took the opening kickoff and drove 61 yards in 12 plays to tack another six points to their lead. The scoring play was a 12-yard pass from Rasnick to Anderson.
The drive lasted almost five and half minutes and left North Greene trailing 26-0 with 6:35 in the third quarter.
After another Huskies
possession went nowhere, Unaka put together another scoring drive. This one was a quick-hitter.
The Rangers covered 51 yards in less than two minutes. Rasnick capped off the drive with a 13-yard rumble with 2:18 left in the quarter. North Greene blocked the extra point attempts.
In the fourth quarter, North Greene's defense forced two more turnovers. One was an interception by Brett Bolton.
The second turnover actually resulted in the lone score by the Huskies. Hunter Wilcox received a fumble at the Rangers' 14-yard line.
Bailey connected with Emmett Robinson the very next play for a 14-yard scoring pass. Bailey missed the extra point. The score was 32-6 with 5:45 left.
Unaka responded with another touchdown four plays later, though. Rasnick broke free on a naked bootleg and raced 55 yards down to the North Greene eight.
Rasnick plunged into the end zone two plays later from one yard out.
Verran was pleased with his defense forcing four turnovers.
"We did not take advantage of the turnovers," he said. "We need to do better with that."
Overall the Rangers out-gained the Huskies 352 yards to 189.
The Huskies lost the services of Zane Britton in the first half to a possible concussion, Verran said. Britton had 55 yards rushing in the first half.
Verran said the weather played a part in his team's struggles.
"I think the cold was a factor," he said. "It affected our passing game. We had practiced outside during the week, but it was a factor."
The Huskies will celebrate Senior Night next Friday when they host Tri-Cities Christian at the The Tundra.