Cloudland celebrated Homecoming in a big way on Friday night.
The ‘Landers rolled to a 47-0 victory over Unaka at Orr Field. The Rangers fall to 0-4, while Cloudland moved to 5-0.
Zac Benfield led the way for Cloudland with 204 yards on six carries, while Colby Birchfield had 142 yards on nine carries. Austin Whitehead ended the night with 35 yards on nine carries.
Micah Hunt paced Unaka with 52 yards on six carries.
The ‘Landers struck early as Colby Birchfield blasted through the line for a five-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening drive, and Unaka was unable to pounce on their own fumble at midfield on the ensuing drive. Cloudland struck again with just under five minutes to play as Birchfield raced 34 yards to give CHS a 12-0 lead.
On the ensuing Unaka drive, Austin Whitehead stepped in front of a Ranger pass and returned it 14 yards for the score as Cloudland took an 18-0 lead into the second stanza.
The second quarter was all Cloudland as the ‘Landers exploded for 22 points. Dakota Ashley ran underneath a Whitehead pass to score from 33-yards out. Zac Benfield got in the scoring act as he scored from 63 yards out, and Whitehead wrapped up the first half scoring with a four-yard run as the ‘Landers took a 40-0 lead into the locker room at half.
In the third quarter, Cloudland scored the lone touchdown of the second half as Birchfield cruised into the endzone from 28 yards out.
Cloudland will travel to Tri-Cities Christian next Friday night, while Unaka will host Hancock County.
“We came out pretty strong. We have done that the past couple of weeks and that has really helped us. I am just happy with how they responded to playing in a huge game last week to playing an 0-3 team this week. I told them our goal was to play our best football game every week, and tonight I think we played pretty well.”
-Cloudland Coach Brock Pittman on his team setting the tone early
“They were so loaded up on sugar from the week tonight that I knew they were going to play fast. This is the third homecoming I’ve had here, and all three they have played well.”
-Pittman on his team playing well on Homecoming
“I am not a big fan of stats as a former offensive lineman. All the credit goes to the offensive line. The fact that we have four or five guys that can carry the ball, and at the end of the night I am never surprised to hear someone rushed for so many yards because you never know who it is going to be and that is the best part.”
-Pittman on the Cloudland rushing attack
“Cloudland has a good football team. They have a lot of weapons. Benfield, Birchfield, Whitehead and their offensive line does a great job. They come off the football and open some holes for those guys and those backs run the ball hard.
-Unaka Head Coach Pink McKinney on the ‘Landers
“I think we started off in the first series pretty good, and then we don’t have enough guys on the field. That is my fault and I take blame for that. These guys really don’t understand how to win yet because we play a lot of young kids, but every week we keep getting better and we just have to go work. We had a great practice Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday was so-so. I don’t think these guys are going to quit. They have a lot of fight in them, and anything can happen.“
-McKinney on his young squad
“Last year, we went 0-4 because of a top heavy schedule, and we come back and won four games. I think we will be alright. Cloudland has a good football team. Coach Brock and his staff does a great job and they have weapons. All three of them can take it the distance any time. We just have to go back and get ready for next week.”