UC hammer reason for rally

UC hammer reason for rally
UC hammer reason for rally

Union City’s Kelly Scales charges Trigg County quarterback Andrew Stewart.
CADIZ, Ky. — In the end, there was nowhere for Trigg County to (Hyde).
Sophomore fullback Keylon Hyde ran for 303 yards and four touchdowns to help Union City rally from a two-touchdown fourth-quarter deficit to a thrilling 42-28 victory over the host Wildcats Friday night.
Hyde’s third and fourth TDs came in the final 46 seconds when the Tornadoes completed their stirring comeback against a tiring TC defense that was repeatedly hammered and finally caved in vs. Union City’s relentless midline/veer rushing attack.
And though only a handful of starters return from UC’s Class 1A state championship team, it’s clear the physical style and superior conditioning displayed by that 2009 title club will still be a trademark of this season’s team.
Doing his best imitation of record-setting fullback Josh Nicks — who carried a state finals record 47 times for more than 200 yards in last year’s BlueCross Bowl — Hyde rushed on 42 plays between the tackles to pile up his whopping yardage total against the Wildcats.
He did his best work against a wilting Trigg County unit in the fourth quarter, rumbling for 121 yards on 12 attempts, the last two covering 22 and 27 yards that capped his three-TD fourth quarter and put the Twisters over the top.
UC head coach Darren Bowling was understandably pleased at the resiliency of his young squad (just five seniors) that was able to rally against a quality out-of-state opponent on the road and overcome the usual first-game mistakes made by all teams.
“I thought we really grew up in some areas and matured some over the course of the game,” Bowling said. “We made a ton of errors — penalties, in our special teams, missed tackles, and we had a huge turnover deep on our side that just gave them points.
“But we just stuck with what we do and kept pounding them. Keylon was just phenomenal. We knew he had the potential and he’d watched what (Josh) Nicks did all last year and said he was ready for the workload. He really got comfortable with the meshes from Chase (Bowling) and started finding some creases there in the second half. He simply wasn’t going to be denied.”
After a 7-all first-half tie, Union City fell behind twice by two scores in the third period — largely due to its own miscues.
Bowling fumbled away a quarterback keeper that set up a 25-yard Hakeem Tyler TD run early in the quarter to make it 20-7 after Trigg — which lost starting QB Andrew Steward to a knee injury late in the opening half — had taken scored on a 40-yard scamper by Deondre Wilson coming out of the halftime locker room.
A roughing the punter penalty later in the frame kept a Wildcat drive alive and led to Akeem Wilson’s two-yard touchdown plunge that made it 28-14 with 2:06 left in the third.
From then on, though, the Tornadoes simply imposed their will on the host team that seemingly grew more weary with every UC offensive snap.
Running mostly behind guard Kelly Scales and tackle Joseph Shanks on the left side, Hyde — who carried on the Twisters’ first eight plays of the game and seven of nine on his team’s ultimate game-winning march — pulled Union City within 28-21 with an eight-yard TD scamper with 11:11 to play.
A three-and-out forced by the UC defense gave the ball right back to the Purple and Gold and positioned the offense for a game-tying score.
Sophomore slot Keontre Murrell had a big 17-yard pickup around left end, sprung by a block by Benjamin White, and Bowling then capped a 57-yard, five-play march with a five-yard keeper to paydirt with 7:09 showing. Victor Panetta — the Tornadoes’ latest exchange student find at kicker — booted his fourth PAT in as many tries in his American football debut to even things up at 28-all.
Deandrez Williams, who scored the Twisters’ first TD on a 20-yard run, had a big pass deflection after his team had drawn even to help get Union City the ball back with 4:23 to play for its deciding drive.
Hyde, who carried for a gain of 16 to get the nine-play, 74-yard sequence started, capped the series with a 22-yard burst over Scales to the endzone and dragged Deondre Wilson with him along the way. The tie-breaking touchdown, and Panetta’s ensuring point-after, came with 46.4 seconds showing.
Twister fans did not have sweat out the final seconds either, as freshman Tymaine Strickland made a specatular play on the following kickoff.
Strickland launched himself into TC’s return man, not only jarring the runner, but stripping possession from him as well.
Hyde then punctuated his night and the UC comeback by stomping his way 27 yards through a seemingly uninterested Wildcat defense for the last of his TDs with a half-minute left. Panetta’s sixth straight PAT provided the final margin.
“We’ve certainly got a ton of things that we must get better at, but the best thing about that is that we have two weeks to do it now, and some extra time to heal up,” Bowling added. “With how we play, we’re always going to have some beat-up folks and some bruises. We’ll get better, but we’ll have to play through some of those too.”
Scales had a monster game defensively for Union City with 10 total tackles, three of those for losses that included one sack. He also had a pass deflection. Trey Maddox was in on six stops — two behind the line — and Chris Boucher had an interception.
Union City has an open date before playing its second game, its District 14A opener at Trenton Sept. 3.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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