Speedy Vikings leave UC in dust

Speedy Vikings leave UC in dust
Speedy Vikings leave UC in dust

Union City’s Keylon Hyde stumbles for yardage during Friday’s loss at Humboldt.
In this tale of the tortoise and the hare, the rabbit didn’t stop to take a nap.
And it likely made off with the district championship.
Speedy Humboldt ran away and hid from Union City Friday, essentially dethroning the reigning 14A kings with a convincing 38-15 victory over the Tornadoes at Barker Memorial Stadium.
The Vikings (5-3, 4-0), the only team without a league loss, now needs only to beat either Greenfield or Halls to officially wrestle the 14A crown from UC, which now finds itself in some serious trouble as far as even making the playoffs a year after winning the Class A state title.
The Twisters (3-4, 1-2) likely need to win each of their three remaining games to qualify for the postseason for sure — though a 5-5 overall mark will put the locals on the bubble.
Winning out will certainly be no easy task, as Union City will need to beat both fifth-ranked Lake County, and Obion County neighbor South Fulton, which upset the Falcons Friday night to leave both teams at 5-2 overall.
Before those back-to-back games against quality foes to end the regular season, the Tornadoes host Halls (2-5) this week.
UC found itself unable to run with the big dogs in the district this season on Friday as Humboldt showcased its fleet feet repeatedly and took advantage of three Purple and Gold turnovers in its first four possessions to build a 17-0 lead.
Both Bryan Harris and Quan Campbell had touchdown runs of longer than 70 yards for a Viking offense that repeatedly gashed an outclassed Twister defensive unit that struggled throughout the game to contain the host team on the flanks and surrendered a season-high 411 yards.
“Tonight was the first time I have looked out on the field and saw how young we really are, and it showed,” Union City head coach Darren Bowling said. “We played a veteran team that was better than us, but I saw a lack of confidence and really just a maturity level that didn’t measure up to our opponents.
“Confidence comes with maturity, and we don’t have a lot of either one right now. We’re going to be a really good football team again in a couple of years, but right now is just not our time.”
Both Campbell (121) and Harris (117) eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark — gaining the bulk of those totals on simple sweeps.
Shaquille McCorry had a 39-yard scoring sprint to give the Vikings a three-score lead late in the first half, and nimble-footed H’boldt QB Zack Shepherd tacked on a pair of touchdown keepers in the fourth quarter, covering 24 and 17 yards to cap the convincing triumph.
“They got loose on the edges on us several times, and we compounded that by not tackling very well,” Bowling added. “I thought they really started playing with a lot of confidence as the game wore on after they broke a few big plays. They’re a team that plays great with the lead.”
UC meanwhile, was held to a season-low 178 yards, all of that on the ground.
Workhorse fullback Keylon Hyde was the Twisters’ lone semblance of offense, gaining 154 yards with a touchdown on 35 carries as Union City tried unsuccessfully to neutralize Humboldt’s explosiveness with its trademark midline/veer ground attack.
Most telling was the Tornadoes’ penchant for continuing to turn the ball over in their losses. The two lost fumbles came inside their own territory, and the locals’ interception was made costly when McCorry scored on the following play.
In its four losses now, UC has commited 10 turnovers.
Chase Bowling accounted for the Twisters’ other touchdown, capping an 11-play, fourth-quarter drive with a two-yard dive. The Union City quarterback also tacked on the two-point conversion to make it 31-15 with 5:41 to play before Shepherd’s second score ended any suspense over the outcome.
Michael Dysart had seven total tackles, two for lost yardage, while Brett Gore was also in on seven stops to top the Tornado tackle chart.
GAME NOTES — Hyde went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season with his fourth 100-yard game of the year. He now has 1,083 yards on the ground through seven games, and became the first sophomore to eclipse the 1,000-yard total at UCHS since Mario McElrath gained more than 1,550 yards in the 1999 campaign. …The Twisters’ No. 2 rusher on the season, DeAndrez Williams (466 yards), did not take a snap offensively and played only sparingly overall after being late to practice Thursday and for Friday’s pregame gathering. …Lineman Abram Carroll, a two-way starter until tearing knee ligaments against Trenton in Week 2, is set to undergo major knee surgery on Tuesday in Jackson. Carroll is expected to return to the team next season after extensive rehabilitation.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.


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