Top UC concern is aerial defense

Top UC concern is aerial defense
Top UC concern is aerial defense

Union City’s Keylon Hyde gets away from a Dresden defender during Friday’s scrimmage.
Darren Bowling is the early leader in the contest for ‘Understatement of the Preseason’ by area high school football coaches.
“We have got to get better in all facets of pass defense,” the Union City skipper lamented after his team gave up four touchdown passes and was repeatedly riddled by Dresden’s Dale Hutcherson in a Friday scrimmage session.
And while the Lions never slowed down UC’s midline/veer offense themselves and gave up six TDs to the Tornadoes, it was his club’s overall struggles in defending the pass that was a glaring concern for Bowling afterward.
“We didn’t get much of a rush, we didn’t cover, we tackled poorly in the open field and we didn’t force but one turnover all day,” he said while rattling off his team’s shortcomings at the end of the two-plus hour scrimmage. “No question, our tackling is my biggest concern. They threw the ball so quickly, I didn’t expect us to get much pressure on them.
“That means you have to make one-on-one plays, and we didn’t very often. We’ve got to do a much better job of getting off blocks and getting the receiver on the ground.”
Hutcherson was crisp throughout the session, mostly on short routes, and led the Lions to scores on all but one of their possessions.
That drive ended near the Union City goal line when Travis Rutland picked off one of a very few mistakes by the Lion QB who threw for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 touchdown passes a year ago in leading Dresden to a seven-win season.
Offensively, Bowling had few complaints with his troops.
Like the Lions, UC scored on all but one of its offensive series, and actually completed a handful of passes in a stray from its usual run-every-play offense.
Sophomore slot back Deandrez Williams had scoring sprints of 70 and 35 yards, fullback Keylon Hyde found paydirt on runs of nine and 10 yards, and QB Chase Bowling had TD keepers covering eight and two yards for the Twisters.
Bowling also completed two passes to Chris Boucher and another to Rutland to add some balance to Union City’s vaunted ground game.
“Offensively, we’re starting to get a little bit of a feel of what we can do, but we can get better,” the elder Bowling added. “Our slots had a better day today, and Keylon (Hyde) is starting to come around. What I was most happy with, though, was the passing game. We threw and caught the ball with some confidence, and it didn’t look like a foreign concept for us to throw the football.”
Of the few highlights defensively other than Rutland’s pick was a pair of tackles for losses by sophomore end Joseph Shanks.
Union City will work this week in preparation for two quarters of play against McKenzie Friday night in the annual Huntingdon Jamboree.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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