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UC finds Trenton a perfect-fit foe

UC finds Trenton a perfect-fit foe
UC finds Trenton a perfect-fit foe

Union City’s Raphe Alexander and Jacob Worley provide blocking for Kendrick Price during Friday’s shutout victory over Trenton.
Beforehand, Trenton was thought to be the perfect made-to-order opponent for Union City.
Perception is indeed reality.
The second-ranked Tornadoes physically overwhelmed Peabody from the opening kickoff and in all phases, invoking the mercy rule for the entire second half in a 48-0 romp over the Tide Friday at War Memorial Stadium.
Kendrick Price ran for 110 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Chase Bowling had three TD keepers as UC scored on its first five possessions and rolled up 409 yards offensively.
The Twister defense, meanwhile, equally manhandled Trenton’s attack, limiting Peabody to 90 total yards while forcing three turnovers and never allowing penetration inside its 35-yard line in the convincing blowout that served as the District 14A opener for both teams.
Things figure to get considerably tougher immediately for the Twisters — who’ve outscored their first two foes by a 93-6 count — as they host No. 3 Huntingdon this week in a showdown of rural West Tennessee’s best Class A clubs.
A Trenton program traditionally unafraid of engaging in smash-mouth-style encounters, in fact, fit Union City’s desired old-school brand of play to a T on Friday.
The Tide simply couldn’t stand toe-to-toe with the Tornadoes, though, as UC imposed its will in all facets of the contest.
“We know what kind of history their program has and we expected them to try to come in and be physical — and that meant them wanting to run the ball and keep us from running it,” Twister head coach Darren Bowling said afterward. “And that really fits the style we want to play.
“On both sides of the ball, I thought we were physical and did all the things we wanted to do really well.”
It was 21-0 before the first quarter was over, 35-0 at the half, and actually could’ve been worse if not for two dropped touchdown passes for the Tornadoes.
After marching 66 yards on nine plays with the opening kickoff and getting a four-yard TD run by fullback Josh Nicks, the defense then set up UC’s next two scores.
A fumble recovery by Price snuffed out Peabody’s first and most promising offensive series of the night, with Price then having a long scoring run of his own called back via a block-in-the-back penalty. The younger Bowling, however, capped a six-play sequence with the first of his three scoring scampers — a nine-yard option keeper.
The center of the Tornado defense then stuffed Trenton QB Jerry Rogers on a fourth-and-one at the Tide 35, giving the locals a short field and positioning them for Price’s 11-yard scoring gallop six snaps later with still a minute left in the opening period.
Union City continued to flex its muscles and widen its lead with two second-quarter scores.
A pretty 42-yard pass play from Bowling to freshman Drake Parker, who split two defenders for the grab, set up Bowling’s five-yard score at the 9:24 mark of the frame.
The Twisters then made it 35-0 when Raphe Alexander — subbing for starter Jacob Worley who suffered a sprained ankle while playing defense earlier in the period — snagged Bowling’s option pitch and darted 16 yards down the left sideline to paydirt.
With the clock running continuously at the beginning of the second half, possessions were limited, though still productive for UC.
Parker’s interception on Trenton’s initial sequence of the third quarter was the starting point for an 11-play, 55-yard scoring march that was culminated by Bowling’s five-yard run.
Spain foreign exchange student kicker Jorge Guerri, who is a perfect 12-for-12 in PATs this season in his first experience with American football, then hit his sixth extra-point in a row in Friday’s game to make it 42-0.
The final margin came about when Parker jetted around left end and into the endzone from 22 yards out on the game’s last play.
“Offensively, we were really clicking in the first half,” the Union City coach added. “Our backs ran hard, and we made some good blocks on the perimeter that sprung us for some big gains. They really concentrated on our fullback game, but when you do that, we’re capable of gashing you on the edge.
“Defensively, we started a little slow on that first drive, but the turnover helped us get settled in and play pretty well the rest of the night.”
In all, Tornado defenders dropped Peabody ballcarriers for losses on eight plays with Trenton transfer Antuan Powell responsible for two of those minus-yardage stops.
In previewing the aforementioned showdown with Huntingdon this week, Bowling claimed his troops would find out if they are indeed worthy of their lofty Associated Press ranking.
“We’ll find out where we stand in the grand scheme of things real quick,” he said.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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