When the weather turned bad, the Cloudland football program turned to the ground game.
The ‘Landers rolled to 345 yards rushing in a battle of state-ranked teams to take a 28-0 victory over previously unbeaten Unicoi County on Friday night inside a soaked Gentry Stadium.
Cloudland improved to 6-1 overall with the win, while Unicoi fell to 7-1 on the season.
The ‘Landers hit the gas pedal early.
Cloudland used seven plays to go 47 yards as Caleb Sluder ended the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. Seth Birchfield added the two-point conversion.
The Cloudland defense set the tone early by keeping the Blue Devils from being able to convert a fourth down.
The CHS offense picked up where they left off as Birchfield scored on a 37-yard run to send the ‘Landers into the second quarter with a 16-0 lead.
Unicoi County moved to midfield early in the second quarter, but the Cloudland defense rose to the occasion again with a key fourth-down stop.
That stop set up a Cloudland scoring drive that ended when Birchfield scored on a one-yard run.
After the CHS defense forced another punt, the ‘Lander offense went on a two-minute drill, but a tipped pass was intercepted deep in Unicoi territory to end the half with Cloudland leading 22-0.
In the third quarter, the ‘Lander defense forced a three-and-out to open the quarter. The teams traded possessions as neither were able to break onto the scoreboard in the third quarter.
Sluder capped the scoring in the fourth quarter with a three-yard run as the ‘Landers secured the win.
Birchfield had 35 carries for 227 yards, while Sluder ended the night with 105 yards.
The Cloudland defense held Unicoi to 109 total offensive yards.
Skyler Hamby and Sluder had interceptions for CHS, while Maverick Simerly had two sacks to pace the ‘Lander defense.
The ‘Landers are set to return to action next Friday night as Happy Valley is set to visit Orr Field.
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