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Tide gives UC taste of its own meds

Tide gives UC taste of its own meds
Tide gives UC taste of its own meds

Union City’s DeAndrez Williams breaks away during the Twisters’ defeat on Friday.
Union City found out exactly how the other half lives.
It was admittedly not a pleasant experience.
Matthew Nicholas kicked a 39-yard field goal on the game’s final play to lift Trenton to a numbing 29-28 victory over the fifth-ranked Tornadoes Friday night at Freed Field.
The heartbreaking loss broke a two-year district/region win streak for UC and was the locals’ first such setback in league play in Darren Bowling’s 28-game tenure as head coach.
It was made even tougher to swallow after the Twisters had scored a go-ahead touchdown themselves with just 20 seconds left and appeared on their way to a second come-from-behind triumph in as many games this season.
Just as Union City did in winning the Class 1A state championship last season, though, Peabody got a pressure-packed, last-second deciding boot from Nicholas, who ignored the ‘icing’ tactics of Bowling, who called a timeout just before the Peabody senior was to launch his game-winning kick that accounted for the last of five lead changes.
Undaunted, Nicholas’ kick was true — and would’ve been good from a longer distance — sending Trenton fans into a frenzy.
“We’ve been on the other side of a few of those finishes, and this side doesn’t feel too good,” a dejected Bowling said afterward.
“On paper, we didn’t deserve to win this game, and I’m sure on film it’ll show we didn’t deserve to win. We just made so many critical mistakes with penalties and turnovers.”
UC was indeed its own worst enemy with a lost fumble at the Trenton one-yard line, another deep inside its own territory that set up a Peabody score, and a host of illegal shift penalties that wiped away a number of big gainers — including an initial go-ahead TD run by Keylon Hyde with 24 seconds left.
The Twisters also missed a pair of usually-automatic extra points and gave up valuable pass interference yardage on the Tide’s final drive that positioned the home team for Nicholas’ heroic deed.
Union City appeared on the verge of surviving all those blunders, however, when Chase Bowling threw to a slanting Travis Rutland for a 14-yard touchdown to cap a 13-play, 80-yard march that began with a little over three minutes to play, putting the Purple and Gold in front 28-26 with just 20.3 seconds showing.
The Tornadoes’ second completion of both the night and the young season made up for the last of their illegal shift blunders that called back Hyde’s nine-yard TD run the play before.
Victor Panetta, who made all six of his PATs in UC’s season-opening triumph over Trigg County two weeks ago, missed his second in a row following Rutland’s grab and score, though, leaving the gap at just two points.
Bowling opted for a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff, but Panetta’s effort more-resembled an onsides effort and went out of bounds near midfield.
The Twisters were guilty of a pass interference infraction on the first snap following the kickoff that got Trenton to the 37, and a 15-yard completion from Jerry Rogers to Tyler Gadlin moved the ball to the 22. The Tide, without a timeout, then managed to spike the ball and kill the clock with just eight-tenths of a second to play to bring on Nicholas.
“I probably asked Victor (Panetta) to do too much with the kickoff, and then we just didn’t make a play in the two snaps following that,” the UC coach added.
After a 14-all first-half tie, the lead swapped hands four times in the second half.
Union City, which wasted a chance to go up by a TD when the younger Bowling couldn’t cleanly get a center exchange and lost possession at the one at the end of a 10-play drive, did salvage a safety out of the field position when linebacker Brett Gore and a host of his teammates dropped the Tide’s Gadlin in the endzone.
A second Bowling miscue — this an option pitch to essentially no one when the Tornadoes’ inexperienced slots were guilty of another illegal shift flag — resulted in Trenton taking a 20-16 lead after Juwan Anderson scored his second touchdown on an 11-yard run following the turnover.
The Tornadoes, overcoming several injuries to its starting offensive line, nonetheless regained the lead with a 15-play, 71-yard sequence that ended with a 12-yard burst by Hyde to paydirt halfway through the fourth quarter.
Unfazed, Peabody seized the lead back on a 43-yard TD scamper by Ellison — his second trip to the endzone — on a reverse play with 3:12 to go to make it 28-22.
Union City then calmly marched on what looked like a carbon copy of its dramatic drive vs. Trigg County two weeks ago, moving from its own 20 to the promised land in 13 plays behind the running of Hyde, Bowling and Williams, the latter of whom also caught a deflected pass for a 25-yard gain.
“It would’ve been a great win, and one we surely needed,” the elder Bowling added. “I told the kids afterward though, that this wouldn’t define them or their season. What they do from now on will though.”
Both Hyde (25-127) and Williams (14-124) eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark with Williams scoring one of the Tornadoes’ first-half TDs on a 52-yard run. Bowling’s one-yard sneak capped a game-opening scoring series.
Chris Boucher had eight tackles, and Kelly Scales was in on seven for the Twister defense.
Union City plays at Huntingdon this week.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at

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