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Twisters pass another district test

Twisters pass another district test
By ALLISON JONES
Special to The Messenger
Union City head coach Darren Bowling knew his team would be tested when they traveled to Trenton to for a District 14A showdown Friday night.
Both teams struggled with protecting the football, but Union City’s ability to capitalize on turnovers gave them the edge, defeating Peabody 21-19.
The Golden Tornadoes’ 21 points all came as a result of Tide turnovers. However, while Bowling was pleased to pick up a district win, it’s still something he says his team has to improve on.
“That was the difference in the game,” Bowling said. “They had turnovers and we capitalized, and we had turnovers and they didn’t. The bottom line is that’s something we’re going to have to work out.”
With strong athletes on both sides of the ball, Bowling believed it would come down to junior quarterback Travis Rutland and his ability to come up with big plays.
“We knew with Rutland coming in that we wanted to throw the football more,” Bowling said. “He does a good job throwing the ball, and we’re going to continue to work that aspect of the game.”
Rutland finished the game going 4-of-10 through the air for 35 yards with one interception as well as 10 carries for 57 yards on the ground, including a 23-yard touchdown carry.  
Junior Keylon Hyde set the pace for the Golden Tornadoes’ rushing attack with 23 carries for 86 yards.
Fellow junior Khiry Lewis contributed an additional six carries for 60 yards as well as leading receivers with two catches for 26 yards.
Trenton junior quarterback Tyler Gadlen went 6-of-10 for 128 yards with one interception with a touchdown carry and pass. 
Senior Javaris Powell led the running game for the Tide with nine carries for 67 yards as well as one reception for 34 yards.  Junior Malik Doaks was Gadlen’s number one target with two catches for 49 yards with a 41-yard touchdown reception as well as a 91-yard fumble return for a touchdown. 
Union City got out to an early lead after a Rutland three-yard carry in the first quarter following the first of Peabody’s three turnovers.
Peabody moved the ball down to the Union City three-yard-line in the second quarter. However, a Powell fumble was picked up by Keontre Murrell and returned for a 97-yard touchdown, giving his team a 14-0 lead.
Tyler Gadlen got his team on the board in the third quarter with a 17-yard carry. A missed extra point by Brett Ferrari would leave the score at 14-6.
Union City drove down the field to the Tide nine-yard-line, but a fumble by Rutland was picked up and taken the other way by Doaks for a 91-yard touchdown. On the following two-point conversion attempt, Gadlen was unable to convert, leaving the score at 14-12.
Rutland didn’t let that phase him, leading his team down the field before taking the ball 23 yards to the end zone expanding his team’s lead to 21-12 with 2:39 to go in the game.
However, Gadlen refused to give up. After almost throwing two interceptions and a sack, he found Doaks for a 41-yard touchdown with 1:39 to go with the score at 21-19. 
A failed onside kick would give Union City a chance to run out the clock to finalize a 21-19 victory. 
Bowling was pleased with his team’s ability to overcome adversity and pick up a big win on the road to remain undefeated in the district.
“It’s huge for us to keep the district thing alive because we’ve played some really tough football games this year,” Bowling said. “We’ve had some bad breaks and tough times, but these guys keep playing hard and as long as they can stay alive in district play, that’s what it’s all about.”
The Golden Tornadoes will have another test this week when they host fellow district foe Lake County. Published in The Messenger 10.3.11

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