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UC aerial defense better vs. McKenzie

UC aerial defense better vs. McKenzie
UC aerial defense better vs. McKenzie

A host of Union City players pile on McKenzie’s Jace Hargrove.
Union City cut McKenzie off at the pass on Friday.
A week after allowing four touchdowns passes in a scrimmage against Dresden, the Golden Tornadoes limited the Rebels to just 4-of-10 passing at the annual Huntingdon preseason jamboree.
However, McKenzie — which UC tied 3-all in a scrimmage just over a week ago — managed to get the lone touchdown of the 20-minute exhibition to claim a 7-0 decision.
The Twister secondary was much-improved Friday, forcing incompletions on the first six passes.
“We’ve been working hard and trying to get our pass defense with Trigg (County) coming up,” UC coach Darren Bowling said. “I think we’re getting better, but we may have spent too much time on that and other parts of our game suffered.”
One of the other segments of the Twisters’ game that might have been victim to the locals’ focus on defending the pass was its trademark midline/veer offense.
Union City came up short offensively during its first two possessions, punting on each occasion when the locals were unable to gain a first down.
That said, the Twisters, who open up in Cadiz at Trigg County this Friday, did show signs of life on their third and final offensive series, moving the chains three times in four plays before a fumble ultimately ended the drive.
During said final offensive set, Keylon Hyde had four carries for 21 yards, while DeAndrez Williams motored 18 yards on his only carry of the drive.
Chris Boucher also had a nice seven-yard scamper for Union City.
“We showed a little life there at the end,” Bowling said. “We were coming off a huge defensive stop and I think the momentum carried over and it looked good to see this young bunch clicking.”
The defensive Twisters were indeed clicking just prior to their last offensive series when they stopped McKenzie in the redzone.
After a holding penalty pushed the Rebels back to the Union City 19, the locals defense defended a pair of passes perfectly and held Jace Hargrove to just three yards to force a fourth-and-long.
McKenzie opted to try for the field goal and Max Arnold’s kick was wide left.
The Rebels had previously scored on their first possession when fullback Colin Vinson dove in from a yard out to cap a nine-play, 80-yard march to the endzone.
It did appear that after three plays in that series that UC would force a three-and-out.
Instead McKenzie gained a first down by calling a fake punt — taking advantage of the locals not rushing because Bowling thought his team was not supposed to in a jamboree setting.
“That’s something that wouldn’t have happened in a real game,” Bowling said afterwards. “I was unclear on what the rules were up here about rushing a punter or kicker.
“That one is on me for not making sure of the rules for this jamboree. It’s my responsibility to be clear on the rules and I wasn’t ths time.”
The Twisters play their first three games of the season (Trigg, Trenton and Huntingdon) on the road before their home opener on Sept. 10 against Obion Central.
Sports reporter Ken-neth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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