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Longhorns continue to have tough road in loss to Unicoi

It was a career night for Patrick South, but the JCHS Football Team didn't have much go right otherwise and the Longhorns now head into a bye week 0-3
Despite 142 yards rushing on 23 carries from the sophomore tailback, the Longhorns only scored on one offensive possession and struggled on defense in a tough 33-14 loss to an upstart Unicoi County team at McEwen Stadium Friday evening.
Not even a two-hour thunderstorm delay could stop Unicoi County from putting on a passing clinic with Austin Hensley going 19-of-26 on the night.
A touchdown at the end of the half where Hensley found Josh McKinney in the end zone for a strike that put Unicoi County ahead 20-7.
The score took the wind out the Longhorns' sails and then about five minutes later during halftime, a severe thunderstorm arrived at McEwen Stadium and caused a long delay.
When the game resumed around 10:45 p.m. a lot of the Longhorn fans were gone while the Unicoi County visitor side was alive and kicking.
All this took away an outstanding effort from South abd a solid game from the offensive line.
The delay actually hurt JCHS more than it helped it and the Longhorns lost their first game to Unicoi since Sept. 14, 2001,
“We were hoping they would lose steam, but the touchdown at the end of the half really hurt us and we thought that break really would help us, but we didn't play very well and Unicoi wanted it more than we did,” JCHS head coach Mike Atwood said. “Their boys wanted to win more than ours did.”
Hensley threw the ball as well as a quarterback from an opposing team had up here in a long time and the Longhorns used the extended halftime to strategize on how to stop this hot attack.
However, as halftime became a delay the Longhorns became restless and just wanted to go back out.
“We talked about the things we needed to change and I thought we had some things fixed, but apparently we didn't and when have that long of a break it's hard to know when to give them that lets get fired up speech,” Atwood said. “You don't want to get them going too early because we didn't know when we were going to go back. We mostly talked strategy until we knew were going out and then they let us warm up for 20 minutes. The layoff really hurt us.”
On the other side of things, a Unicoi County program that is just starting to taste success was on top of the world going into the locker room and they were able to carry that momentum into the second half.
If it wasn't Hensley dominating threw the air, it was David Crockett transfer Hunter Abbott running the ball.
Abbott can also catch and his touchdown reception from Hensley in the second quarter gave the Blue Devils a 26-7 advantage.
Abbott added a rushing touchdown from five yards out in the fourth quarter to send shockwaves all over Northeast Tennessee and allowed Unicoi to hold a commanding 33-7 edge.
Other than South, the only other bright spot for JCHS on the night was an 88-yard kickoff return by Chris Stollings.
Stollings has become a very solid kickoff returner and gave the faithful Longhorn fans who stuck it out something to cheer about.
However, the night belonged to the Blue Devils and whatever Coach Jerad Huskins said in the locker room, the Blue Devils responded to it.
“They've not beaten us in 10 years so it's easy for them, but it was harder for us,” Atwood said. “I really believe our kids were confident coming into the game because we hadn't lost to them in 10 years. Our boys played hard, but we didn't get it done.
The other JCHS touchdown and the only one on the offensive side of the ball came from South as he had a four-yard run into the end zone with Ryan Mahala kicking the extra point.
Simply put, the Longhorns had no answer for Hensley, who coming into this year was more known for his basketball prowess as a Blue Devil than he was a football player.
Now, Hensley is a star in both sports and has led the Blue Devils back to respectability on the gridiron.
“He's a real good quarterback if you can't get to him and we couldn't get any pressure and they had a good scheme to block Skylar and the running back did a good job blocking and Hensley hurt us,” Atwood said.
Stollings did have an interception of Hensley to continue a solid night, but that was the only thing wrong that happened to Hensley.
“You have to have a certain kind of athlete to play pass defense and we just don't have that this year,” Atwood said. “We're going to have to do the best we can with what we've got.”
Not much went right for Atwood and the Longhorns, but the coach did want to congratulate his young sophomore South for really stepping up.
“Patrick had a great game and we can't ask anything more out of Patrick,” Atwood said. “If that's what he gives us we're going to be fine. Patrick ran the ball well and ran the ball hard and it's not like these boys aren't out there trying because they're trying.”
It has been a very frustrating year in a town where football is king among all the sports and even though some people may be frustrated with the results, the truth is these boys are playing hard and are dedicating themselves to being better football players.
“We're very frustrated as a team,” Atwood said. “We're getting good effort, we're just not getting results. Sometimes that's the way it goes; you can't win every game and you can't have the best team always. It's the nature of a small county school. The numbers are down in our junior and senior classes and it shows. We don't have many people who have any experience and we're going to have to work to get better.
“We're looking at some younger guys to put in and it's not because the seniors aren't getting it done, it's because we don't have many seniors. We don't have a senior defensive tackle. We have to put our best 11 on the field.”
STATS FOR JCHS
PASSING: Chase Kleine 1-8-0, 8 yards
RECEIVING: Timmy Bellamy 1-8
RUSHING: Patrick South 23-142, Luke Poteet 1-12, Chris Stollings 1-2, Chase Kleine 5-18
RETURNS: Chris Stollings 3-127, Patrick South 1-12, Timmy Bellamy 1-23
TACKLES: Chase Kleine 5, Blake Phillippi 1, Skylar Reece 7, Craig Jennings 6, Chris Stollings 5, Patrick South 2, Mikey Edington 3, Ryan Smith 1, Seth Little 4, Timmy Bellamy 4, Connor Icenhour 4, Ryan Mahala 4, Jimmy Morefield 4, Nick Thompson 1, Scotty Tester 2
SACKS: Scotty Tester 1,
INTERCEPTION: Chris Stollings 1