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Greenfield perfect dance date for UC

Greenfield perfect dance date for UC
Greenfield perfect dance date for UC | Greenfield perfect dance date for UC
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Greenfield turned out to be a made-to-order homecoming opponent for Union City.
The Golden Tornadoes — if only for a week — got well at the expense of a likewise young and struggling team, handily beating the winless Yellowjackets 42-13 Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The victory bettered UC’s overall record to 2-3 at the halfway mark of the season, but more importantly gave the Twisters their second triumph in as many District 14A games. Union City, Humboldt and Trenton are the only three of the league’s seven entries without a district loss.
Almost as important, the Tornadoes — after having been handled convincingly by three unbeaten and state-ranked foes in three of their first four outings — turned in a solid showing on both sides of the ball without many of the glaring mistakes that had haunted them in those lopsided losses.
Khiry Lewis recorded his third straight 100-yard rushing game and had three touchdowns in all, both of Joseph Shanks’ two completions went for touchdowns, and the much-maligned UC defense that had given up an average of 39 points and nearly 340 yards per-game on average in the first month, totally dominated a G’field team that nonetheless had its best offensive output of the year to-date.
“Greenfield, because they are young and were struggling just like us, was a good fit for us and where we are right now,” Union City head coach Darren Bowling said. “I’m glad we didn’t slop it around and win with a lot of mistakes and poor play. It was important, I thought, for us to play well, not have a lot of penalties and turnovers, and basically just play a sound and solid football game.”
Fumbles — more specifically a lack thereof on offense where UC has struggled with center-quarterback exchanges, and on defense where the Twisters had forced just three turnovers coming in — were telling.
The locals had no such issues on offense with starting center Brett Gore returning from a knee injury suffered in the season-opener.
Defensively, the Tornadoes forced a pair of turnovers that led to immediate TDs with both Kane Taylor and Keontre Murrell jumping on fumbles in Greenfield territory.
Nose guard Jaime Pirtle, one of three freshmen to start on defense, had three tackles for lost yardage for a unit that totaled 13 stops behind the line of scrimmage in all.
Linebacker Tymaine Strickland topped the hit list with 11 tackles in all and had two for minus-yards, as did tackle Terrence Fitts.
“We made some things happen on defense and that really gave us momentum a couple of times to break things open,” Bowling confirmed.
“I was really pleased, too, with the improvement with our exchanges on offense. Brett (Gore) being back really helped (Joseph) Shanks relax, I think, and he was able to make better reads and throw a couple of good balls for touchdowns, too. When you don’t have to think about getting the snap, it makes your job as the quarterback in this offense so much more easy.”
With the Yellowjackets crowding the box with all 11 defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop Union City’s veer option attack, Shanks lofted a pair of pretty scoring passes down the middle to Iora Smith (32 yards) and Lewis (36 yards).
The first of those TDs came on the first snap after a G’field turnover in the second period, the second following a high center exchange over the punter’s head in the third quarter.
Lewis, who used his great speed to get to the corner regularly, had touchdown sprints of 35 and 34 yards to open the scoring in each half.
Keylon Hyde’s one-yard TD plunge capped a 12-play, 62-yard drive that ate up over six minutes in the second stanza and gave UC a 14-0 lead. Hyde was a perfect 6-for-6 in booting PATs.
Devin Burnside accounted for the Twisters’ final score, a three-yard that capped a 21-point third quarter and put into motion a continuously-running clock via the mercy rule.
Bowling emptied his bench in the final period.
“It feels good to be on the other end of the running clock,” confirmed the Union City coach, whose club has lived the other half of that life in each of its three losses.
“More than that, it was good to get so many of the guys in the game and let them enjoy it and be a part of a good homecoming.”
Union City plays host to its fourth ranked opponent of the season this week when No. 7 (Class 2A) Dresden visits War Memorial Stadium.
Greenfield will travel to Bruceton this week.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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