|Good feelings don’t last for UC
|Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 5:58 am
| By KEVIN WEAKS
Even when things seemed to being going well for Union City on Friday night, the results — more often than not — turned out not so good.
The Golden Tornadoes made too many mistakes, couldn’t fully capitalize when Dresden did so and were unable to get off the field enough times on defense in what was surely a frustrating 35-20 loss at War Memorial Stadium.
Playing well enough at times to put a scare in the state’s No. 7-ranked 2A team, UC never could put that finishing touch on anything significant that could have resulted in an upset win.
“I told our kids that they don’t need to walk away feeling bad because they played hard, and I’ll take that every night,” UC head coach Darren Bowling said. “We might be 2-4, but I’ll be fine as long as they keep playing like that. If we keep playing hard, we’ll make the rest happen. Next week is a district game, and we’re undefeated in the district, so we have to look at it that way and keep that going.”
Bowling pointed to a number of near-misses that wound up costing his team the game. And, he didn’t have to look very far for the first one.
After scoring three plays into the game after recovering an onside kick and then getting what at the time appeared to be a huge break when an inadvertent referee’s whistle cost the Lions a touchdown, UC saw several blown opportunities keep its defense on the field for a full 17 plays.
UC defensive lineman Jamie Pirtle intercepted a Gatlin Hatchel pass only to cough it up while trying to run with the ball and then the Twisters were guilty of a pass interference call on a fourth-down play at the 20.
Given two extra lives on one drive, which saw 16 of the 17 plays snapped on UC’s side of the field, Dresden finally tied the game with just under three minutes left in the opening quarter.
That one long series was only the beginning of bad things to come for the Twisters.
Union City lost a fumble just two plays after being given a second chance on a roughing-the-kicker penalty.
UC lost all four of its fumbles but could not capitalize on its only recovery of a Dresden fumble near the mid-point of the second period and then could not convert Dresden’s only punt of the game, which came three plays into the second half.
Dresden built a 28-14 lead with two touchdowns in the third quarter, one set up by a UC fumble and a 34-yard Colin Kanehl run on a fake punt.
After UC pulled within 28-20 early in the fourth, Dresden scored on the ensuing possession to put the game away.
UC then spent the rest of the game trying unsuccessfully to get on the board, thwarted first by offsetting personal foul penalties that wiped off a 47-yard TD run by Khiry Lewis and then stopped when Keylon Hyde fumbled at the Lion eight with less than a minute to play.
“This year, it’s like some kind of plague we have,” Bowling said. “I don’t know what it is. The first quarter, it seemed like we held them inside the 20 for 30 plays or something, but then something would happen and they’d have another first down.
“Turnovers, the fake punt, the pass interference call, third downs, fourth downs, and we never get a fumble. I think a lot of that is just the sign of a young team.”
The game did mark the return to the lineup of UC quarterback Travis Rutland, out since near the end of preseason with a broken finger. He started and took every offensive snap, allowing fill-in QB Joseph Shanks to move back to the line.
Rutland, in his first start in a regular season game, rushed 13 times for 46 yards and completed 3-of-8 passes for 35 yards.
“Travis did a great job,” Bowling said. “We didn’t know what to expect because, honestly, he hadn’t been in the heat of a game ever. He’s been on the sidelines watching Chase (Bowling) for two years. We expected him to be a little rusty throwing, but he came out tonight and, I think, would have been ready for anything.”
UC’s offense was held in check much of the night, however, accounting for 214 total yards.
UC’s two offensive scores came on a short field, Lewis with a five-yard run at 10:48 of the first to finish a three-play, 40-yard drive and Hyde’s one-yard plunge at 9:45 of the fourth ending a seven-play, 49-yard march.
The other score came on a 91-yard kickoff return by Lewis at 2:16 of the second period, tying the game at 14-all just 14 seconds after the Lions had taken a 14-7 lead on a Kanehl run.
Dresden, meanwhile, had 401 total yards, Devan Raymer squirting through UC’s defense for 112 yards on just 10 carries and Hatchel completing 8-of-16 passes for 151 yards.
“Defensively, I thought we played great, though,” Bowling said. “We bent but didn’t break a lot. We played hard, hustled and got to the football. We might have missed some tackles, but I’m not going to take anything away from the effort.” Published in The Messenger 9.26.11