Highlanders roll at Unicoi
The Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders made the long trip to Unicoi County and ran away from the Blue Devils for a big 46-22 non-conference win Friday night at Gentry Field.
“It feels good to be 4-0,” said G-P coach Benny Hammonds, following the 24-point win. “But we’ve still got a lot of room for improvement.”
It was a tight contest midway through the second quarter with the Highlanders (4-0) leading just 16-10 after the Blue Devils (1-3) scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak by senior signal caller Lucas Hensley with six minutes, 35 seconds until intermission.
But that’s when G-P took control of the contest.
Junior Michael Muszik took the ensuing snap from scrimmage through the 4-hole and was immediately stuffed at the line of scrimmage by a couple Unicoi County defenders. But Muszik refused to go down, shedding the would-be Blue Devil tacklers and then sprinting 69 yards untouched to paydirt for a 22-10 G-P lead with 6:17 in the half.
It was part of the 171 yards and three TDs on the ground for G-P in the second quarter alone.
Muszik made it the halftime score of 30-10 with another scoring run, this time from 13 yards out with 3:66 in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Tanner Cox ran the two-point conversion.
Senior Jeremy Odom made it 38-10 with an 86-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter, and Muszik scored his fourth TD of the night with a 42-yard run with 10:34 in the third to make it 46-10 G-P after junior tailback Steven Russell ran in the two-point conversions following both scores.
The G-P junior varsity squad took over from there.
Unicoi County’s varsity squad managed a score with 11:54 in regulation when Hensley found senior receiver Thomas Tipton on a fourth-and-Goal from the 4, cutting the G-P lead to 46-16.
And Unicoi County freshman running back made it the eventual final with a 69-yard TD run with 4:52 left in the game.
The Highlanders drew first blood in the contest after senior Spencer Brien ripped a 40-yard run through the five hole for a first-and-goal at the 8, and Cox immediately followed with an eight-yard bootleg right for the score with 4:28 left in the first. Muszik made it 8-0 with the two-point run.
The Blue Devils cut it to 8-3 when senior kicker Richie Farmer drilled a 39-yard field goal that would have been good from 50 with 11:56 in the second quarter.
But Muszik answered for G-P with his first score of the night, a 27-yarder up the gut, for a 16-3 lead after he also ran in the two-point conversion with 9:57 in the first half.
The undefeated Highlanders will have a tough row to hoe to stay that way when they travel to Fulton (4-0) next week, while Unicoi County hosts Sullivan South.