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Younger Bowling drives Twister train

Younger Bowling drives Twister train
Younger Bowling drives Twister train

Union City quarterback Chase Bowling prepares to handoff during the Twisters’ victory on Friday night.
A headline of ‘Bowling leads Tornadoes to opening win’ would be both appropriate and accurate after Union City’s 45-6 romp over Trigg County Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
And it would be in no reference to the UC head coach.
Darren Bowling’s son, Chase, directed the Twisters to scores on their first five possessions as Union City won a season-opening game for the first time since 2001 and began the ’09 campaign in impressive style.
And while it might best be described as a team victory — with contributions offensively, on defense and from the special teams — the younger Bowling’s steady performance in his first varsity start seemingly answered the question of who would direct the Tornadoes’ midline/veer offense that returns virtually all other starters from last year’s 10-2 club.
“Chase did a good job of getting us in the right plays, for the most part, and he made some good decisions with the football,” the elder Bowling said after beginning his second season at UCHS with a convincing victory over the Class 2A (Ky.) Wildcats.
Bruising fullback Josh Nicks ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and kicker Jorge Guerri — a foreign-exchange student from Spain who experienced his first game of American football — hit all six of his extra point attempts and a 41-yard field goal to end the first half for the Twisters.
The UC defense had a hand in the triumph, too, limiting the visitors to zero-net yards and one first down in the second half after being lit up for 141 yards passing over the first two periods.
“For it being the first time out, I’m pleased with all facets of our game,” Bowling added. “We pounded them offensively and didn’t have a lot of mistakes. Defensively, we forced a couple of turnovers in the second half and converted them into points, and what can you say about Jorge? I don’t think he realizes what pressure he’s supposed to be under as a kicker.”
Chase Bowling scored the Twisters’ first TD of the season to cap a 70-yard opening drive before Nicks — who had 113 of his yards in the first half — accounted for the first of his two scores with a one-yard dive.
UC regularly hammered the interior of the Trigg County defense and occasionally mixed in the option and sweeps while running the ball on its first 21 plays of the game.
The Wildcats then scored their only touchdown when quarterback Andrew Stewart ran two yards to paydirt after completing a pretty 35-yard pass to Nick Watkins to narrow the difference to 14-6 at 8:35 of the second quarter.
The Tornadoe,s though, who dominated the offensive line of scrimmage behind center Will Arnold, guards Trey Maddox and Stevie Gossett and tackles Ronnie Fair and Rance Barnes, answered right back with a 64-yard scoring march that was capped by Jacob Worley’s 29-yard dash to the endzone.
Consecutive sacks — first by Kendrick Price and Gossett, then by Maddox and Fair of Stewart — helped Union City turn away a TC threat inside the locals’ red zone and set the stage for Guerri’s long field goal on the final play of the half.
Bowling’s 18-yard completion to Worley set up the kick from the right hashmark, one that had plenty of distance and gave the Twisters a commanding 24-6 lead at the half.
UC’s defense came up with a pair of interceptions, and an errant center snap that sailed over the head of the Wildcat punter helped set up a third Tornado TD over a 61/2 minute span that ended any suspense and invoked the mercy rule with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
Freshman Keylon Hyde snatched a bobbled Stewart pass on Trigg’s first second-half possession to set up Nicks’ 26-yard touchdown scamper on the first snap after the turnover.
After the special teams’ gaffe, the Tornadoes took over at the Wildcat 26 and jumped into the I-formation with Hyde at the rear of the set. On his second carry, and after Nicks had rumbled 13 yards, Hyde scored his first varsity TD on a one-yard dive.
Union City then landed the knockout blow following the ensuing kickoff when defensive end Zack Cavness stepped in front of a Stewart screen pass and went 31 yards in the other direction with a pick that accounted for the final score.
Defensively, the Tornadoes’ Barnes had easily the biggest hit of the night, a bell-ringing tackle of Stewart in the first quarter. UC had seven tackles for lost yardage, with both Fair and Gossett in on two sacks apiece, and Maddox and Cavness netting one each.
“I really believe that being under the lights in the jamboree last week was critical and helped us get a lot of first-game jitters out of our system. We didn’t have a lot of those tonight,” Bowling added.
Union City is idle this week and will next play Sept. 4 at home vs. Trenton in its first District 14A contest of the season.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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