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Messenger Players of the Week

Messenger Players of the Week
Offense

Colton Speed
School: Union City
Grade: Senior
Height: 5-9
Weight: 185
Pos.: Quarterback

By the numbers: For the second consecutive week and third time this season, Speed was the county’s top playmaker in UC’s 28-7 victory over previously-unbeaten and 10th-ranked South Fulton. He rushed for 171 yards and three of the Tornadoes’ four touchdowns, reaching the endzone on a game-tying two-yard run, a 50-yard scamper that actually covered about 80 yards when he cut all the way across the field, and a game-clinching 29-yard TD on which he broke four tackles. Speed eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season and he went over the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in seven games. He has now scored 16 touchdowns and 98 total points.

Sound bite: “He’s just a playmaker, and even though he has some flaws and makes mistakes, every good team needs somebody who can sorta’ pull a rabbit out of a hat and make a play when it looks like all is lost,” Union City head coach Darren Bowling said of his QB. “He did that on a couple of occasions against South Fulton, and I thought that really deflated their confidence when he did. When we seemingly need a big play, he has a knack of making one.”

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrick Haskins, OC junior receiver/quarterback, both threw for a touchdown and caught a TD pass while playing a number of roles in the Rebels’ 43-26 loss to Dyer County. Ended up with 88 yards on eight receptions, including a 15-yard scoring toss from Jackson Yeager, and also completed a 43-yard touchdown throw to Hunter Calhoun while hitting on 3-of-4 aerials.

Defense
Peter Wilkes

School: Union City
Grade: Senior
Height: 6-1
Weight: 184
Pos.: Defensive back

By the numbers: Wilkes, playing since Week 1 with a chronically separated shoulder, made a pair of critical interceptions defensively and was also a key contributor on special teams in the Tornadoes victory over SF. His first pick was especially huge, thwarting a Red Devil drive just before the half at the UC one and essentially resulting in a 14-point swing as the Twisters then marched to a tie-breaking TD just before halftime. He had a second interception of a Jonathan Avent halfback pass on fourth down to open the fourth quarter. Wilkes also punted three times for a 38.3 average and was 4-for-4 on point-after kicks following Union City touchdowns.

Sound bite: “Peter brings a lot to our football team, and that was evident Friday night,” Bowling claimed. “The one pick he had when South Fulton looking like they were going in was huge. And he was solid both punting and kicking extra points. He brings a lot to the table leadership wise, and for him to still be playing and doing the things he does for us with a bum shoulder and after having suffered a serious knee injury last year speaks volumes about his toughness.”

HONORABLE MENTION: Jacob Worley, UC junior linebacker, had a team- and game-high 11 tackles for the Tornadoes; Corbin Hawks, SF senior safety, was around the ball all night, intercepting a pass, recovering a fumble and in on six tackles; George Garmon, SF senior safety, had a club-high seven tackles; Ronnie Fair, UC junior tackle, had five tackles including one for lost yardage and two forced Red Devil fumbles; Rance Barnes and Kendrick Price, UC junior linebackers, had five tackles and an interception apiece; Brian Thomason, OC senior cornerback, led the Rebels with nine total tackles, seven of those solo stops.

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