In a back-and-forth fashion, Unaka finally broke into the win column on Friday night.
The Rangers defense held strong in the final minute to power Unaka to a 48-44 victory over Hancock County in Sneedville.
It is the first win of the O’Brien Bennett era.
After the Indians got on the board to open the game, Unaka battled back as John Boy Ramsey found Jared Stiltner for a 37-yard touchdown pass and the ensuing two-point conversion gave the Rangers an 8-6 advantage. Hancock responded with a 34-yard touchdown run to push the Indians back into the lead. Unaka, however, took a lead into the second quarter as Isaac Hill forced a Hancock fumble for a scoop and score.
In the second quarter, Ramsey hit his second touchdown of the night as he found Hill for the score. Hancock, however, had countered to take a 22-20 advantage into the locker room at half.
In the third quarter, Isaacs got in the scoring act again as he caught a Ramsey pass from 27 yards out as UHS took the 28-22 lead going to the fourth quarter.
In the final 12 minutes, it was a shootout for the win.
After Hancock remained the lead in the opening seconds of the fourth, the Ramsey-Hill connection struck again for a 48-yard touchdown pass. The Indians battled back with a 27-yard touchdown run, but Unaka countered with a Stiltner catch on a Ramsey throw from 50-yards out. The two-point conversion tied the game with 6:23 remaining.
Unaka jumped on a Hancock fumble on the ensuing kickoff in prime position. With 4:28 left in the game, Ramsey put the Rangers into the lead with a short touchdown.
That set the stage for the heroics inside Unaka’s 5-yard line as the Ranger defense – led by Bryson Street – turned away the Indians offensive attack.
The Rangers saw a safety put two points on the board for the Indians in the final seconds, but Unaka was able to start celebrating the win.