The Claiborne Bulldogs and Unicoi’s Blue Devils were the featured football game during Claiborne’s homecoming week. The Blue Devils may have looked like the favorite on paper but the Bulldogs took it to the visitors and had a win in sight falling only at the very end of the game, 35-22.
It was a beautiful Oct. 14 evening when these two teams took to the field. The Blue Devils struck first and led 7-0. The Bulldogs responded with a score of their own at the 10:03 mark in the second quarter on an Isaiah Cloud run of three yards. The conversion run was no good. The score was 7-6. The Devils soon after put seven more points on the board to increase their advantage to 14-6.
Claiborne did not take that score lightly and returned the favor with 2:16 on a Cloud run of one yard. The two point conversion was good by Elijah Beason. The score at that point was tied at 14.
The Devils then found a way to get one last score in before the halftime break to lead 21-14.
During the third quarter, Claiborne and Unicoi’s offenses stalled and did not find the end zone. Ty Stone found Hunter Rosenbalm with just over seven minutes left in the game for a 28 yard passing touchdown with Cloud adding the conversion. The Bulldogs held a one point lead at 22-21.
Sadly for the Bulldogs’ fans, Unicoi scored with around five minutes remaining to take a 28-22 lead and added a by the way score with less than a minute remaining to finish the game with the 35-22 win to spoil the Bulldogs homecoming week.
Claiborne out rushed the Devils 207-137 but lost in the passing column 193-116.
The Bulldogs by the end of the night had given a scare to yet another team but couldn’t find a way to close out the deal. The team is finding some momentum late and that’s a promising thing for the future.
Senior Bailey Neely, daughter of Todd and Jolene Neely, was named 2106 Homecoming Queen. The Princesses were senior, Brittany Middleton; junior, Kalen Beeler; sophomore, Taylor Chittum and freshman, Carlee Seals.
Next week the Bulldogs will travel to West Greene to battle the Buffaloes.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.