|Tornadoes will push ahead |
|Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 4:18 pm |
|Union City — without defensive coordinator and offensive line coach Wes Kennedy — is preparing for its Friday night game at Bruceton. |
It’s what Kennedy wants.
In the aftermath of an accident that left the popular Tornado assistant coach with burns over 75 percent of his body and in a Memphis hospital, UC head coach Darren Bowling has rallied his troops with Kennedy’s words.
“(Kennedy’s wife) Teka said one of the first things Wes said when she got to the hospital was to tell me that he was sorry and probably wasn’t going to be at practice Monday,” Bowling claimed.
“I believe that was his way of saying that we expect people to be at practice and ready to work unless there’s just dire circumstances. While I’m sure he appreciates the players’ concerns, he also expects them to go to work now and get better every day because that’s what we’d do if he could be here.”
Bowling said he expects the resiliency of youth to gradually relieve any anxiety his troops may have until Kennedy is able to return to his duties.
“There was the shock of the accident and then the uncertainty and all the questions about his recovery, and that naturally affected them,” the Union City skipper explained. “He’s such an asset in so many ways to the program and to me personally — having been a head coach — it’s only natural that everybody was stunned and knocked out of their usual routine and element.
“The kids understand that Wes wants them to take care of things as they would if he were here and be ready when it gets back. That is his mindset. Monday, there was a little sluggishness and uncertainty. Tuesday was better, and I expect Wednesday to be the same. They know he’ll be here in spirit.
“Probably the best thing will be us playing on Friday and just letting that focus and routine take over.”
The Tornadoes’ now short-handed staff includes three first-year coaches (Nick Markle, Morgan Cruce and Preston Martin) and the only holdover from the previous regime, Mack Moore.
Bowling said all understand a little bit more may be asked of them until Kennedy is healed and ready to return to his duties.
“We do things as coaches as a staff, and I have confidence and faith in the other guys that they can fill in and get things done that we need done,” he insisted.
SF PRELIMINARIES OVER — South Fulton’s 5-0 has been the talk of rural West Tennessee.
The Red Devils’ next five games will determine if that chatter continues.
SF faces easily the most difficult portion of its 2008 slate in the second half of the season, starting Friday with a visit to Greenfield. After that, it’s Union City, Lake County, Gleason and McKenzie — all Region 7-1A opponents that will decide the Big Red’s ultimate playoff fate.
The significance of those upcoming opponents is they have combined for an 14-11 record to-date. UC and McKenzie both are 4-1, and Greenfield’s 3-2 mark means that three of SF’s future foes have winning slates.
In comparison, none of the five teams South Fulton has beaten has a record above .500. More specifically, just one (Ballard Memorial, 2-3) has won more that one game. Two teams, Bruceton and West Carroll, haven’t won any.
The total collection of BM, West Carroll, Fulton City, Fulton County and Bruceton have a 5-20 record.
Rookie Devil skipper Kelly Spivey isn’t in denial about what’s upcoming for his club.
“We’re obviously pleased with where we are at 5-0, but we know the next five games will determine our biggest goal of getting to the playoffs,” Spivey said recently.
Greenfield will be coming off an open date,
OC: WHAT NOW? — Having failed to break its season-and-a-half-long losing skid in what appeared to be its most winnable game, Obion Central is at a critical crossroads.
Though the Rebels’ schedule might be slightly less intimidating, four of the five opponents left are quality foes, with 1-5 Covington still tradition-rich and with a 14-5 all-time mark against OC despite its current struggles.
Central head coach Shawn Jackson said after last week’s 19-6 loss to Union City he is not discouraged and doesn’t expect his team and its attitude to ‘go south.’
“I’m going to be OK; we’re going to be OK,” Jackson said after being encouraged following the game. “We’ve just gotta keep working.”
On paper, this week’s matchup with Crockett County, then the final two games of the year vs. Haywood and Brighton, appear to be the most daunting. CC is 4-1, Haywood 4-2 and Brighton 5-0 and ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 4A.
Games against Covington and Dyer County (2-3) on the surface look more favorable for the Rebels. The Chargers’ only victory came last Friday against Tipton County rival Munford, while an inconsistent and injury-riddle DC bunch has beaten Huntingdon and nipped Covington — losing big to Chester County a week ago.