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Twisters treating WC same; Central better numbers say

Twisters treating WC same; Central better numbers say
You’d never know it by talking to Darren Bowling, but Union City is playing winless West Carroll this week and not the Tennessee Titans.
“The bottom line, is that it’s a football game that we’re both capable of winning and capable of losing,” the Tornado coach said of Friday’s pending contest vs. the 0-8 War Eagles. “We have to be prepared to go out and play the game the right way, and play it well.
“If we do that, things will take care of themselves. If we don’t, are sloppy, have penalties, don’t take care of the football and are not focused, anything can happen.”
Bowling’s typical coachspeak preparation for the mismatch on paper is predictable for a UC team that can clinch the Region 7-1A championship and No. 1 playoff seed for the upcoming postseason with a victory.
The Twisters will certainly be a prohibitive favorite in the game.
Bruceton and West Carroll occupy the regional basement with identical 0-5 league records and the two are part of a five-team group of rural West Tennessee teams to be winless with two games left in the season. The aforementioned clubs will do battle in Week 10 of the season.
The War Eagles have been shut out in their past three games and four times in all on the season. WC’s only close loss was a 14-6 setback vs. Greenfield. All their other losses have been by at least two touchdowns.
Still, Bowling — at least publicly — isn’t taking anything for granted.
“We can’t just go through the emotions. We’re not good enough to do that and beat a lot of people,” the coach added. “Now, if we go and concentrate on getting better and building on a lot of the good we did last week, I like our chances.
“We can’t slip-up though, or a lot of what we’ve worked for and have within our grasp can be gone.”
REBELS: BABY STEPS — While Obion Central is two more losses away from its second straight 0-10 season, a close examination of this year’s results reveal the Rebels of ’08 are improved from a year ago.
Though outscored to-date 369-136, OC’s point total through eight games has already doubled that (68) of last year when Central was beaten cumulatively by a 485-68 count while losing every game. The Rebs were held to one touchdown or less in seven of 10 outings in 2007, but this season, OC has scored at least 14 points on five occasions and three TDs or more in four games.
The Rebels of 2007 never led in a game, while this year’s team has led opponents on three separate occasions. Obion Central’s closest game a season ago was a 26-7, 19-point loss vs. Ripley, while the current Rebels played ninth-ranked Union City to a 19-6 game in Week 5 and the 43-26 setback vs. Dyer County was also respectable.
A year ago, the 35-point mercy rule in which the clock continuously runs in the second half was invoked seven times in 10 games on the county locals. It’s happened five times this year, but for far-shorter lapses of time.
The most-obvious common denominator between the two clubs is their defensive shortcomings.
Last season, the Rebels gave up 48.5 points-per-game, including 40 or more eight times. This year, Central is surrendering points and yardage at an equally alarming clip, giving up 46.1 ppg and 436 ypg on average. In 2007, OC gave ground to the tune of 367 ypg.
Obion Central’s final two foes of the season could either support or alter the year-long numbers of this year’s club.
Haywood — this week’s opponent — handed the Rebels the worst loss in the 48 seasons of the program last year with a 68-6 beatdown.
Brighton meanwhile, will likely enter next week’s game state-ranked in 4A.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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