The Unaka football team kicked off the 2020 season in style.
The Rangers captured a 36-14 road victory over Hancock County on Friday night in the season-opening contest. It is the first time since 2017 that the Rangers have won in Sneedville.
Unaka got on the board first midway through the first quarter as Daniel Shearl escaped for a 38-yard touchdown run to give UHS a 6-0 advantage.
Neither team was able to get back onto the board until early in the second when the Indians had a 99-yard scoop and score to even things up at 6-6.
Unaka, however, answered late in the half.
Landon Ramsey found Daniel Shearl to set UHS up deep inside Indian territory and Drew Smith pushed the Rangers back into the lead with a four-yard scoring run. Ramsey and Shearl connected for the two-point conversion as the Rangers held a 14-6 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, the Ranger defense set a tone early forcing a quick Hancock possession. The teams traded punts before Smith pushed Unaka to a two-score advantage – this time on a five-yard touchdown run. Shearl added the two-point conversion as Unaka held a 22-6 lead midway through the third.
Unaka’s defense rose to the occasion late in the quarter stopping Hancock County on fourth down inside the five-yard line. That set up a Ramsey-Shearl touchdown pass that covered 95 yards as the Rangers took full control early in the fourth quarter.
Smith added the two-point conversion as Unaka led 30-6 with just over 11 minutes to play.
After another turnover on downs by Hancock, the Rangers saw Ryan Peters scored on a