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UC’s quarterback-center tandem earn statewide recognition

UC’s quarterback-center tandem earn statewide recognition

Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008 9:14 pm
By: Mike Hutchens Messenger Sports Writer

 By MIKE HUTCHENS Messenger Sports Editor Colton Speed spent a good part of the fall joined at the hip of teammate Will Arnold. It was only fitting then, that the two were together on the Class 1A All State Football Team. Union City’s quarterback-center tandem was chosen by a statewide vote to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association for all-state honors today after helping the Tornadoes to the Region 7A championship and the second round of the state playoffs. The honor capped a spectacular senior season for Speed, who was also a Class A Mr. Football Back of the Year finalist, while also being named the region’s overall most valuable player. Arnold, too, was widely recognized as among the best at his position and rightfully honored earlier, named the Offensive Lineman of the Year in Region 7-1A by a vote of league coaches. The UCHS duo was part of a deserving rural West Tennessee contingent picked for the glitter unit that also included Lake County’s Dominic Kimble and Carlos Young, McKenzie’s Jacob Fussell and John Johnson, Greenfield’s Chase McMullen and both Jabriel Washington and Josh Lenoir of Trinity Christian Academy. The Class 2A all-state team was also announced today and featured several area players (see related list). The Class 3A and 4A all-state squads will be revealed Tuesday, with the 5A and Division II all-stars publicized on Wednesday. Speed’s story of skipping his sophomore and junior seasons after shining as a freshman — only to return to the Tornado program for his season campaign when he shined in the option offense of first-year head coach Darren Bowling — is well-documented. He rushed for 1,496 yards — the most-ever in a single season by a UC quarterback — and scored 29 touchdowns while averaging 8.5 yards-per-carry. All totaled, Speed produced 2,088 yards and had a hand in 36 TDs when 692 passing yards and seven scores were added to his rushing total. He ran for 100 yards or more in seven of the Tornadoes’ 12 games and regularly electrified fans and opponents as 14 of his 29 rushing touchdowns came on dashes of 25 yards or longer. He finished the season with 176 total points. Though he didn’t win the coveted Mr. Football Award, he was just the sixth UCHS player ever to be nominated for the distinction. “I don’t know what else I can say about Colton,” Bowling responded when informed of Speed’s all-state selection. “We’ve talked all year about his athleticism, his competitiveness, his leadership and all the things that make up a great player. “I think it’s only fitting that he be named to the all state team and it’s a great capper to an outstanding season for him.” Arnold, just a junior, was — if more subtly — just as critical to the success of a UC offense that averaged almost 38 points-per-game and won 10 straight while regularly dominating opponents with a physical running game. A hulk in the middle, the 320-pounder used his strength to manhandle many opposing defensive linemen and help the Tornadoes average more than 400 yards of total offense a game — 344 of that on the ground. “Will, he really suffered a lot and sacrificed a lot when we first came in and implemented our offseason program,” according the Bowling. “We challenged him and he responded and has turned into one of the best centers I’ve ever had. He’s so strong, and I believe he wants to get better. And that’s the best part, we’ve got him for another year. “It says a lot for your program when you can have an all-state lineman. I’m so proud of him and for him to get this honor.” Bowling agreed that is was fitting that both Speed and Arnold were honored together. “There’s always a special bond between a quarterback and his center,” the UC coach claimed. “It all starts with the center and, especially with our offense, the midline veer is so dependent on the center first making a clean exchange, and then clearing the way for either the fullback or the quarterback. “Will really moved some earth this year, and Colton obviously made a ton of big plays.” —— Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. TSWA All-State Football Class 1A Offense QB — Bunkie Vanskiver (Greenback) QB — Tyler Rice (Wayne County) QB — Josh Blake (Grace Baptist Academy) RB — David Jones (South Pittsburg) RB — James King (Manassas) RB — Kevin Ashabraner (Jo Byrns) RB — Ethan Tummins (McEwen) RB — Jonathan Lewallen (Oneida) WR — Dominic Kimble (Lake County) WR — Cory Nelson (Eagleville) WR — Chase Vogt (Greenback) TE — Brent Ford (Trousdale County) OL — Justin Runions (Mt. Pleasant) OL — Will Arnold (Union City) OL — Matthew Bohler (Jo Byrns) OL — Koty Duncan (Oneida) OL — O.C. Brown (Manassas) OL — Trevor Barnes (South Pittsburg) ATH — Colton Speed (Union City) ATH — Carlos Young (Lake County) ATH — Blaze Eaton (Watertown) K — Josh Lenoir (Trinity Christian) Defense DL — Preston Gilbreath (Mt. Pleasant) DL — Josh Cunningham (Trousdale County) DL — Justin Terry (Oneida) DL — Nick Lennox (Watertown) LB — Tyler Richardson (Knoxville Grace) LB — Chase McMullen (Greenfield) LB — Devin Brunsvold (Middle TN Christ.) LB — Austin Dillon (Trousdale County) LB — Jacob Fussell (McKenzie) LB — Jackie Miller (Greenback) LB — Dylan Fleming (Jo Byrns) LB — Montrell Mitchell (South Pittsburg) DB — David Amos (Knoxville Grace) DB — John Johnson (McKenzie) DB — Joey Cox (Trousdale County) DB — Jabriel Washington (TCA) DB — TayVaughn Wynn (Lookout Valley) P — Jared White (Trousdale County) Class 1A Coach of the Year Kevin Creasy (Trousdale County) Class 2A Offense QB — Jake Overbey (USJ) QB — Ty Fields (Upperman) QB — Justin Coleman (Milan) RB — Ben Cunningham (Goodpasture) RB — Jobronski Gilbert (Milan) RB — Jaron Toney (Alcoa) RB — Joe Muir (Marion County) FB — Taharin Tyson (Alcoa) WR — Danny Smigelski (USJ) WR — Sam Thompson (Alcoa) TE — Zaccheus Mason (CPA) OL — Mason Sharp (Lewis County) OL — Michael Baker (Westmoreland) OL — Cole Webster (Boyd-Buchanan) OL — Davie Miller (Camden) OL — Jeff Hickman (Alcoa) OL — Jeremiah Vivio (Goodpasture) ATH — Cody Jones (JCS) K — Danny Kim (Camden) Defense DL — Tyler Robinson (Alcoa) DL — Cody Rogers (Milan) DL — Chanz Swartz (Stewart County) DL — Adrian Womac (Alcoa) DL — Jeff Orr (CPA) LB — Ethan Cooper (JCS) LB — Seth Emery (Boyd-Buchanan) LB — Matthew Pittser (Gatlinburg-Pittman) LB — Dee Herbert (Alcoa) DB —Chase James (Alcoa) DB — Cody Anderson (Smith County) DB — Kane Crowell (Lewis County) DB — Ben Johnson (Fairview) ATH — Michael Poarch (Tyner) P — Eric Pritchett (Stewart County) Class 2A Coach of the Year Gary Rankin (Alcoa) Published in The Messenger 12.22.08

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