Cloudland took control of their destiny with a crucial win on Friday night.
The ‘Landers moved into the driver’s seat in the Region 1-A race with a 48-6 victory over Unaka in a county clash at Orr Field.
Cloudland clinched at least a share of the conference title and can claim the title outright with a win at Jellico in a couple of weeks.
In the opening quarter, it was a back-and-forth battle.
After Cloudland marched quickly into Ranger territory, Devin Ramsey jumped on a Cloudland fumble. Landon Ramsey and the Unaka offense got things moving, and L. Ramsey connected with D. Ramsey for a 24-yard pass to take a 6-0 lead over Cloudland midway through the first quarter.
The ‘Landers found their stride again with the running game and Seth Birchfield put Cloudland in front with a three-yard touchdown run and then added the two-point conversion to give CHS an 8-6 lead after a quarter of play.
Unaka looked to get back on the board, but they saw an eight-play, 63-yard drive come up empty early in the second quarter. Cloudland answered the bell as they went back to the ground on a drive that covered 74 yards – including a five-yard touchdown run by Birchfield.
After Unaka was forced to punt, the ‘Landers added to the lead with a 22-yard scamper from Birchfield. Cloudland took a 32-6 lead into the half after Gage McKinney scored on a one-yard run and added the conversion in the final minute of the quarter.
In the third quarter, Unaka saw another promising drive end on fourth down inside Cloudland territory, but the Ranger defense forced a quick CHS punt.
The teams traded possessions throughout the quarter until Caleb Sluder broke free for a 36-yard score for the ‘Landers.
Cloudland capped off the scoring in the fourth quarter with a one-yard run by Elijah Blair.
The ‘Landers saw Birchfield finish with 27 carries for 240 yards, while Sluder ended the night with 12 carries for 185 yards.
McKinney added 11 rushes for 57 yards.
L. Ramsey led Unaka with a 10-for-19 passing performance for 132 yards. D. Ramsey caught eight passes for 120 yards, while Drew Smith added 51 yards on the ground.
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