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Tornadoes make long-awaited return to Top 10

Tornadoes make long-awaited return to Top 10
Predictably, Union City’s 28-7 win over previously-unbeaten South Fulton propelled the Tornadoes past the Red Devils and into the Top 10 in the Associated Press state rankings.
Equally as expected was Darren Bowling’s reaction to the news.
“It’s good recognition for our kids and our program, but it really doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things,” the UC head coach said. “I mean, it’s a reward for all the hard work our players have put in and the fact that we’re 6-1 right now, but rankings are just more of a conversation piece than anything else.
“Our focus is more on getting better every day in practice and every week in games. Come playoff time, the rankings and everything else will take care of themselves.
While the Twisters’ new No. 10 Class A ranking may not necessarily represent a return to the program’s glory days, it likely is a step in the right direction reputation-wise.
It marks the first time Union City has been listed in the AP state poll since the 2001 season.
During a period from Week 2 of the 1997 season until the first month of the ’01 campaign however, the Tornadoes were ranked in 36 consecutive polls. Included were 15 occasions when UC was listed at No. 1 by statewide voters.
Not even during the program’s most-recent success — 2005 when the Twisters were state runnersup — was Union City ranked during the regular season. The locals were 2-3 at the midway point of that campaign before reeling off nine straight victories and making it all the way to the BlueCross Bowl where they were beaten handily by Trousdale County.
The Tornadoes are two spots behind McKenzie (6-1) — a team they beat 21-16 — in this week’s poll. Both trail season-long frontrunners South Pittsburg and Trousdale County, who remained Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
UC received 25 total points in balloting done by Associated Press votes from across the state.
In Class 2A, Milan (7-0) remained second to four-time reigning state champion Alcoa, while Camden (5th) and USJ (6th) — both 6-1 — each moved up a spot after convincing victories last week. Stewart County remained at No. 10 after beating Huntingdon 27-15 and improving to 7-1.
Rural West Tennessee is represented by a pair of teams in triple-A with Jackson South Side up one place to fifth and Dyersburg having risen two spots to eighth. Both are 6-1. Crockett County, which plays at D’burg this week, remains on the fringe of the Top 10 at No. 11.
Henry County, fresh off a 54-0 beatdown of then-No. 4 Brighton, is still a solid No. 2 behind Maryville in Class 4A.
Brighton dropped to ninth from fourth, and is one spot behind Hardin County, which rose to eighth from 10th last week.
A complete poll listing can be found on page 7.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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