By Randy Cavin
Press Sports Editor
Any Westview football fan who was at Thursday’s scrimmage against Union City had to be pleased with what they saw — and with the outcome.
The Chargers’ hurry-up offense did what head coach Matt McConnell designed it to do — wear down the opposition. The Golden Tornadoes lost their legs to the Chargers, who had a considerable depth advantage.
That is not to say the Chargers didn’t get tired. They did, but they also did not show it on the field, which McConnell was pleased with. He was also pleased with how his guys played as a team.
“I think we took a step in the right direction,” McConnell said. “Do we still have a ton to work on? Absolutely. We made a million mistakes, but our goal was to be physical and to give a great effort. I feel like about 95 percent of the time we did those things.
“One thing we pride ourselves in is being in great shape. I saw some of our guys get tired and we can’t get tired.”
Westview fell behind two scores to one in the scrimmage, which had each team with 10 plays per position. Heralded sophomore quarterback Ty Simpson looked every bit the Division I college prospect that he is as he guided the Chargers to four straight scores to put them up 5-2 in the touchdown count.
Simpson had five touchdown passes and ran for two more. His first TD pass went for 11 yards to Jonathan Davidson to tie the game at 1-1. That came after UC turned the ball over on its first play, but then scored the next play on a Sam Theobald quarterback option. Simpson also completed passes of 23, 25 and 14 yards in the drive to Javion Goins, Marquis Taylor and Garrett Byrd, respectively.
Senior defensive lineman Cai Ingram introduced himself to Theobald on Union City’s next play as he broke through the line of scrimmage and sacked the UC quarterback. Cameron Patrick ended the Twisters’ possession with an interception.
Union City ended up turning the ball over four times, while the Chargers had two turnovers. One happened with Theobald picking off a Simpson pass. Simpson rolled to his left to avoid the pressure and saw Byrd wide open inside the UC 25-yard line.
However, Simpson did not have time to set himself as the pass had too much air under it, which enabled Theobald to close the gap to make the interception in front of Byrd.
Then the Tornadoes fumbled again but managed to score on a 14-yard run by Justin Wiggins later in their possession. The Chargers took over after that with four straight touchdowns.
Taylor set up the first one with a 30-yard screen pass from Simpson and a 12-yard run, followed by a 40-yard touchdown run from Simpson, who leaped over a UC defender to avoid a tackle.
Westview took 3-2 lead on a 21-yard keeper by the sophomore quarterback, and then things got worse for the Tornadoes. They turned the ball over for the third time early in their next possession and the Chargers kept them out of the end zone after 10 plays.
The Chargers scored twice in their next series of downs to go up 5-2. Taylor turned a screen pass into a 70-yard touchdown, followed by a pass from Simpson to Goins in the corner of the end zone from 13 yards out.
Union City narrowed the lead down to 5-3 with Wiggins capping off the scoring drive. That was it for the Tornadoes as the fatigue got the best of them with the Chargers scoring three touchdowns on three straight plays.
Taylor busted free for a 70-yard scoring run, followed by Byrd turning a short pass into a 70-yard touchdown on the next play, and Simpson went 70 yards on a keeper to wrap up the scoring.
Union City uses the midline veer offense, which is something the Chargers never see. There may be some variations of it they have seen from South Gibson with its triple-wing option. The Chargers may have been a little shocked by it at first, but they adjusted to it and pursued the ball carrier very well.
“We did and I think it all goes back to effort,” McConnell said. “If we give great effort, then we are going to get to the ball. Defense, I think you have to line up correctly and then you have a chance to get to the ball.
“I do not think we are where we need to be, but the good thing about that is we still have time to work on some things, and that is what we are going to do.”