Top UC priority is defense

Top UC priority is defense
First things first.
With shortcomings on offense, defense and special teams — any one of which could be fingered for a one-point loss to Trenton last week — Darren Bowling has plenty to fix with his youthful Union City football team.
Tops on the list is the Tornado defense.
The Tornadoes, who start four and sometimes five players on defense who are either sophomores or freshmen, have given up 28 and 29 points, respectively in their first two games of the season.
And while costly turnovers on offense and a number of kicking game blunders were critical vs. Peabody, Bowling insists he’s addressing the defensive shortcomings first.
“You have to be able to stop people if you’re going to be a good football team, and we haven’t done that consistently in either game,” the UC coach said. “Even though we made some critical mistakes offensively last week, 28 points should be enough to win a football game. It wasn’t for us, though, against Trenton, because we couldn’t get them stopped when we needed to.
“Offensively, we did some things that were uncharacteristic for us, like (quarterback) Chase (Bowling) making some bad decisions and us getting some critical penalties for illegal shifts. And on special teams, we’ll keep working on some different things and with some different personnel until we get it right.
“But if you can’t stop people, none of that other stuff will matter.”
Union City gave up 12.7 ppg last season on its way to the Class 1A state championship.
RIVALRY WEEK — South Fulton head coach Kelly Spivey is stressing that numbers mean little this week.
The Red Devils must ignore the fact that they jump across the state line to face its most heated historic rival — an 0-3 Fulton City team that has been outscored 140-13 thus far this season.
“Regardless of who we play, we better be focused,” Spivey said. “A lack of focus last week cost us a game.”
Personnel-wise, South Fulton has taken a necessary step back at split end position with Chance Hamlin — who left last week’s game with what was initially believed to be a hyper-extended elbow, but now reported to be a fracture — out.
Alex Gallien, who moved to tight end from the split position at the start of this season, will return to his former post.
Taverius James and Taylor Martin are to be called upon as the Red Devil tight ends.
EARLY RISERS — Obion Central’s game day routine will be altered for Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff vs. Cape Central (Mo.).
Not as much as one might think, according to Rebel skipper Shawn Jackson.
“We’ll still do the same things we always do; we’ll just do them at different times of the day,” Jackson insisted.
Plans are for OC to depart Troy around 9 a.m. for Cape Girardeau and Southeast Missouri’s Houck Stadium.
Players will eat a light snack that includes some fruit upon arrival before taking the field for warmupsat around noon — an hour before the game is set to begin on the SEMO campus.
“What we always do, won’t change. The times we do it will,” Jackson claimed.

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