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Unicoi corrals first playoff win since 1985

Gene Renfro • Nov 2, 2018 at 11:41 PM

ERWIN—Unicoi County returned to the postseason and did something the program has not done since 1985 in Friday’s opening-round game of the TSSAA Road to the BlueCross Bowl 3A playoffs.

The Blue Devils upended Kingston 27-20 in the program’s first home postseason contest since 1991. It also marked the first postseason win for Unicoi County since the ’85 team reached the quarterfinals.

The Blue Devils had lost 11 straight playoff contests before Friday’s victory.

“I’m extremely proud of our kids, especially after last week with the results against Johnson County,” Unicoi County head coach Drew Rice said. “With the way the kids played and bounced back ... they played a good football team tonight with Kingston despite what their record might be. For our guys to show up tonight and rally, I think it’s a huge step for our program.”

Unicoi County advances to the next round, which is a trip to top-ranked Alcoa, with a 9-2 record. The Blue Devils were the only Region 1-3A team to win an opening-round contest.

Alcoa was a 56-0 winner over Claiborne. The Blue Devils faced the Tornadoes in the 2015 and 2016 playoffs with wins for Alcoa in both. Alcoa has a 24-1 record the last five years in the postseason.

Fourth-Quarter Rally

The Blue Devils had to rally to keep the season going and the formula was familiar.

Kody Lewis had touchdown runs of 83 and 46 yards to force a tie and the eventual game-winning score. He ended the regular season with 1,632 rushing yards and 21 rushing TD.

On Friday, Lewis covered 270 yards on 21 carries. He added a first-quarter touchdown as well.

Lewis also had four tackles with a catch for six yards.

Thompson throws

Brock Thompson might only be a sophomore, but he showed maturity. Thompson connected with Brett Strother for a 61 yards score in the third quarter to regain the lead.

Thompson was 6-for-9 for 137 yards as he already has 14 victories as a starter. Strother had four catches for 124 yards.

Noah White was the leading tackler despite playing with a nagging injury. He had seven stops with a sack.

Kingston ends 2018 at 4-7.

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