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Age-old adage applies to Central in latest setback

Age-old adage applies to Central in latest setback
Age-old adage applies to Central in latest setback

Jacquis Williams, Clint Jones and Patrick Minnick get in on a tackle during the Rebels’ 47-0 loss on Friday.
Just when it seemed that it couldn’t get any worse for Obion Central, it did.
The Rebels were shut out 47-0 by Haywood in Region 7-3A action on Friday evening and that’s just the tip of the iceberg to the county locals’ “Titanic” story.
Over the course of Friday’s defeat, the Rebels — who have now lost a program-record 19 straight games — were held to a season-low 85 total offensive yards against the Tomcats, who clinched the 7-3A championship with the triumph.
By contrast, Obion Central was averaging a respectable 274 yards per game prior to Friday’s dismal outing.
Furthermore, OC lost senior wide receiver/punter Hunter Calhoun before the game to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Calhoun had injured his leg in practice on Monday, but it was not until a pre-game session on Friday when, according to Central head coach Shawn Jackson, Calhoun’s leg popped and he was examined by the team trainer that the diagnosis was known.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another with us,” Jackson explained after the loss. “Hunter got hurt in practice Monday, but he was still able to practice and I thought he looked good on Thursday and that he’d be able to go.
“But after his leg popped earlier today (Friday), we found out he had a torn ACL and we had to rework our offense and change a lot of our game plan.”
Despite the loss of the team’s No. 2 receiver, it appeared that Jackson’s spur of the moment plan was going to — if nothing else — net a moral victory through the first 23 minutes of play.
The Rebels — winless in their last 19 decisions — allowed a lone touchdown to Haywood, in the first quarter and it was not until the final minute of the second canto when the proverbial bottom fell out for the county locals.
At that point with 38 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Harold Watson found Demaris Drake through double coverage on a beautifully executed 36-yard touchdown toss down the Tomcats’ sideline and the visitors took a 14-0 advantage into the locker room after a Jose Lopez point-after kick.
OC never fully recovered from that blow as the county locals totaled just six offensive yards during the second half.
“That touchdown pass was our breaking point,” Jackson said. “Up until then, we had played well defensively I thought and we’d missed some opportunities on offense with some people open and a few dropped passes.
“Again, it all goes back to the number of mistakes we make. You can’t make that many errors against a team of Haywood’s caliber, especially if you aren’t converting on your side.”
Behind 7-0 at the start of the second quarter, Obion Central looked poised to drive downfield and possibly tie the game midway through that stanza.
Brian Thomason carried for five yards on the first play from the OC 33 with Patrick Minnick able to move the pigskin four yards on second down.
Thomason then got the yard needed to get a fresh set of downs, and then the Rebels took to the air.
Jackson Yeager found Jacquis Williams for a 13-yard pass and he connected with Patrick Haskins on a pair of tosses for a total of 14 yards as OC marched to the Haywood 33.
However, Yeager went to the air one too many times and his pass attempt to Williams was picked off by Jacques Gleason.
After the interception at the Tomcats’ 17, it took the visitors seven plays to get to the endzone on the aforementioned Watson-to-Drake connection.
To start the second half, Haywood came out and put together the most impressive drive of the evening as they trudged 79 yards on 10 plays.
Fullback Michael Montgomery, who coughed up a pair of fumbles during the first half, redeemed himself as the driving force behind the Tomcats’ push to the endzone as he carried the football eight times during the drive for 42 yards, the two-yard touchdown run included.
A quick three-and-out and punt by Obion Central gave the Tomcats another opportunity to add to their 20-0 lead. Terry Grandberry, who took in Haywood’s first quarter touchdown, sprinted 40 yards to get his team in the Rebels’ redzone and, two plays later, Terrance Brown crossed the goalline on a two-yard carry.
In the fourth quarter, the Tomcats did not let up as Jonathan Nixson hauled in a 23-yarder from Watson at the 9:30 mark.
Then, Gleason made his second pick of the evening on the first Obion Central play after the ensuing kickoff and he took it the distance for a 26-yard defensive score. Lopez booted the point-after as Haywood led 40-0 and the clock ran continuously for the remainder of the game due to the TSSAA’s mercy rule.
After another three-play series for OC, the Tomcats’ second team broke through for the final score of the game as Martez Palmer jetted 32-yard to paydirt with under a minute remaining in the game.
The Rebels close out the 2008 season on Thursday evening when they host Brighton. Kickoff for that game is slated for 7 p.m.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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