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Horns hungry for win against Unicoi

JCs Nate Rice (20) punts in the Longhorns 42-6 loss last Thursday evening to Cloudland. The Horns end the regular season Friday at home against Unicoi. Photos by Joey Icenhour.

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer

The Longhorns football team is gearing up for its final game after facing many obstacles throughout the season.
In the beginning, Coach Don Kerley believed his team would perform well this year. And he was right. They have.
The Longhorns’ performance has never been about lack of effort. They have faced their opponents head-on and gave it all they had.
The Longhorns are young but tough. When the bigger teams came through, they didn’t back down and went forward with all the power in them.
How does a team keep momentum when injuries, COVID, and quarantine sideline the majority of the players? Well, you look at the freshmen and say, “go get ‘em,” and that is exactly what Kerley did.
The freshmen have been the band-aid to help cover this annoying, ever-present scab. They have done a good job, and they will do a better job next year because of the experience of this football season. To his credit, Kerley has worked hard to put the right person out there, but when players are dropping faster than the water and mustard bottles at Neyland Stadium, the job becomes harder. Hopefully, this Friday night, the majority of players will be back ready to go. Fortunately, Simcox will be ready to take back the role as quarterback after healing from an injured arm from last week’s game. He will be looking for his lead receivers Corey Neely and Nate Rice.
It was a big loss when Dalton Brown was injured, but Neely and Rice have been all over that field trying to win for the Longhorns and strong defensive players such as Ethan Icenhour and Ethan Simcox, along with Trevor Henson and Nathaniel Summerow.
Unicoi will be entering Paul McEwen Stadium, confident they will get another win. Sometimes too much confidence can bring down a good team and a hunger for a win by the opposing team. When these two teams get together, anything is possible.
The Longhorns need to come out strong and stop 6’2, 200-pound running back No.34 Nehemiah Edward. He has led in touchdowns for the Blue Devils. He’s tall and fast.
The Blue Devils have secured the title of conference champions, so at this point, it’s all about keeping the champions a bit humble.
It will be a game no one should miss, so hopefully, it will be a packed house for the Longhorns. Seniors will also be honored Friday night. The football action starts at 7:30 pm.