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Edwards' 7 TDs lift Unicoi County past East

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masun tate

Sullivan East senior Masun Tate caught one of two touchdown passes from Drake Fisher during the Patriots' loss at Unicoi County. 

ERWIN, Tenn. — Nehemiah Edwards ate some apple pie before Friday night’s game with Sullivan East that did not agree with him. That ill-advised dessert staged a gastric counterattack late in the first half when Edwards came off the field and, well… you know…vomited.

Edwards went on to engineer a single-game performance that sparked a Unicoi County comeback that left East queasy.

Edwards ran for a staggering seven touchdowns, setting a school record, as Unicoi County defeated the Patriots 56-35 at Gentry Stadium.

East coach J.C. Simmons had a straightforward assessment of the Blue Devils:

“They never back down from anybody,” he said. “They don’t back down for four quarters. They’re well coached and they’ve got a lot of talent.”

The Blue Devils (6-0) staged a comeback victory over East (2-4) for the second straight year. The Patriots jumped out to a 14-0 lead, still led 28-21 at the half, and kept a 35-28 advantage with nearly five minutes elapsed in the third quarter.

East just had no answer for Edwards, Two big plays by Unicoi’s standout senior, touchdown runs of 65 and 53 yards, helped Unicoi get back into the game and trail by just seven points going into the break. Edwards continued to run wild after halftime, finishing with 328 yards on 31 carries.

That workload meant Edwards had something else in mind for his postgame snack.

“I need a few ibuprofen,” he said. “I’m hurting.

“We have a really good offensive line in my opinion,” Edwards added. “We have really good blocking backs. Whenever we get in power formation, I like to make cuts off of them. And then it also helps me because I can cut off of them and then the defense is lost.”

Edwards’ fourth touchdown of the game, a 47-yard gallop, erased East’s final lead and helped tie the score at 35-all with 5:51 remaining in the game. Unicoi forced five turnovers, all in the remainder of the contest, recovering two fumbles and snaring three interceptions. On the first of those picks, East’s standout quarterback Drake Fisher was knocked out of the game.

“We’ll find out,” Simmons said when asked about Fisher’s condition. “I think he’s going to be all right.”

Before exiting, Fisher threw for 219 yards and a pair of TDs, completing 22 of 36 throws. He was most effective early, as Unicoi struggled with the Patriots’ hurry-up offense. Tyler Cross and Masun Tate each made seven grabs apiece and combined for 200 yards through the air. Kaden Roberts topped the century mark in rushing yards and had a short-yardage TD, as did Dawson Jones. Cross also picked off a pass for a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“That’s a good football team we just beat,” Unicoi coach Drew Rice said of the Patriots.

Cross’ pick-6 return made it 28-14 East with 4:43 left in the first half and silenced the Unicoi crowd. Edwards’ second TD, a 53-yarder just 22 seconds later, brought the fans back to life.

“I think he just likes winning. He’s playing well right now,” Rice said of Edwards.

Unicoi turns its sights to Chuckey-Doak next week for a game with major Region 1-3A ramifications. The Patriots, meanwhile, face a daunting stretch of upcoming games that includes matchups with Greeneville and Elizabethton.

Sullivan East;14;14;7;0;–;35

Unicoi County;7;14;14;21;–;56

Scoring Summary

SE: Patrick 2 pass from Fisher (Geisinger kick)

SE: D.Jones 1 run (kick)

UC: Edwards 6 run (Soto kick)

SE: Roberts 2 run (Geisinger kick)

UC: Edwards 65 run (Soto kick)

SE: Cross 70 interception return (Geisinger kick)

Edwards 53 run (Lopez kick)

UC: Pelaez 27 run (Lopez kick)

SE:Tate 24 pass from Fisher (Geisinger kick)

Edwards 47 run (Lopez kick)

UC: Edwards 1 run (Lopez kick)

UC: Edwards 5 run (Soto kick)

UC: Edwards 9 run (Lopez kick)

***

TEAM STATS

First downs: SE 19; UC 18. Rushes-yards SE 29-144; UC 48-346. Passing yards SE 234; 119. Comp-Att-Int: SE 23-40-2; UC 7-13-1.Fumbles-lost SE 3-2; UC 3-2. Punts-Avg SE 3-26.7; 3-40.3. Penalties-yards SE 9-60; UC 5-58.

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