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Gibson County bowled over when real Twisters show up

Gibson County bowled over when real Twisters show up
Gibson County bowled over when real Twisters show up

Union City’s Ronnie Fair works his way to the quarterback during Tuesday’s scrimmage.
Those weren’t impostors in purple jerseys at the beginning of the Union City-Gibson County scrimmage.
Nonetheless, the “real” Tornadoes ultimately did show up.
After working on their little-used passing game with attempts on the first six plays, UC reverted to its trademark punishing ground game and outscored the Pioneers six-touchdowns-to-one in a two-hour session Tuesday night.
Fullback Josh Nicks capped methodical long drives with TD runs of one, 25 and 10 yards, and Kendrick Price hit paydirt on a 55-yard scamper and a three-yard run for the Tornadoes, who settled in after an atypical start and essentially pushed the Pioneers around for most of the scrimmage.
“We have to be able to throw the football a little bit to keep people honest, and that’s one thing that scrimmages are for,” Union City head coach Darren Bowling said of his uncharacteristic play-calling at the outset of the scrimmage. “You’ve got to be able to throw the ball other than when you have to, and I thought it was a good time to work on that.”
That UC varied from its usual plan of attack seemed to lead to an uninspired initial effort and was a point of emphasis from Bowling to his troops afterward.
“We can’t let play-calling or anything else take away our mental and physical edge, and I thought we did when we were throwing the ball,” the coach claimed. “The kids were a little itchy to do what we do — which is run the football — but we’ve got to execute and carry out our assignments at a high level no matter what we’re doing.”
The Tornado passing attack was productive for one play — a 35-yard touchdown from Zack Cavness to Jacob Worley on the only attempt after the first half-dozen to open the scrimmage.
Open-field tackling will surely be a focal point of upcoming Twister practices after slippery GC running back Sherrod Johnson shook free for a 75-yard touchdown after taking a short pass in the Pioneers’ ‘Tony Franklin’ style offense. Johnson also had a handful of other big-gainers after shaking would-be Union City tacklers.
“We’ve got some issues to be corrected with our tackling, for sure,” Bowling added. “It’s good to play these types of teams who will throw the ball and create one-on-one situations because we’ll see similar offenses during the season.
“We gave up way too many big-gainers, though, and we’ll focus on that in the next few practices.”
The Pioneers threatened on two other occasions, but came away with no points — one time held out of the endzone from the one-yard-line.
Preseason all-state tackle Ronnie Fair had four sacks and was constantly in the faces of Gibson County’s two quarterbacks as UC applied constant pressure and allowed minus-yards rushing during the scrimmage.
Both Cavness and Chase Bowling directed multiple scoring drives for the locals, and the elder Bowling said afterward neither had a clear advantage as their battle for the starting quarterback job will likely continue until the season-opener Aug. 21 vs. Trigg County.
The Tornadoes will scrimmage for the third time this preseason, Friday at home vs. Fayette Academy at 6 p.m.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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