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OC coach won’t know until game time

OC coach won’t know until game time
In football terms, Shawn Jackson could be a ‘game-time decision’ as far as his availability for Friday.
The Obion Central head coach was out of the intensive care unit and in a private room at Baptist Hospital—Union City late Monday as he continues to battle diverticulitis. He is resting comfortably after being hospitalized for the better part of nine days now.
Whether or not he’ll be in any shape to attend Friday’s District 13AA showdown of his third-ranked Rebels and No. 5 Covington remains up in the air.
Jackson was hopeful earlier in the week that he would progress enough to be discharged from the hospital by week’s end. He said he would then coach from the press box if his health allowed.
The fourth-year Rebel skipper met with defensive coordinator Adam Dowland and receivers/special teams coach Chris Smith on Sunday to go over OC’s final game plans for the Chargers.
The two Central aides, as well as Chuck Foley, Billy Windsor and handful of younger assistant coaches, have been in charge of day-to-day operations of the program in Jackson’s absence.
An overflow crowd is expected for the contest with school officials hoping that advanced ticket sales and additional portable bleachers that have been brought in will help with the huge turnout.
BACK HOME — South Fulton senior Chance Hamlin is back home.
Hamlin suffered breaks in both lower bones of his left leg late in the first quarter of Friday night’s game against Trenton and was airlifted by Air Evac to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson.
Reports from medical personnel and SF assistant coaches on the field Friday night indicated he would be taken to Le Bohneur in Memphis, but that information was incorrect. He underwent surgery Friday night and actually took a few steps on Saturday and walked about 25 yards on Sunday, according to Red Devil head coach Kelly Spivey.
Hamlin had a titanium rod inserted in his leg along the tibia bone, and he is not in a cast.
Hamlin is, obviously, out for the remainder of the season, and there is no timetable for his return in time for the baseball season.
While certainly the most serious, Hamlin’s injury was not the only one the Red Devil team is battling through right now.
J.P. Fowler is moving slowly with a badly bruised back but will play Friday. Tyler Morris also suffered a back injury last week and is questionable for this week’s game. Zach Vaughn, meanwhile, continues to be hampered by a nagging knee injury.
The injuries will force some tweaks to the lineup. JaQuay Garmon and Anthony Cox will play some at cornerback, while Harrison Hawks could see some action there too. On offense, Cox and Skylar Britt will play some split end, Ryan Prince will move back to tight end and Dominic White will move tackle to guard.
UC TO-DO LIST — “Trying to figure out how to hold onto the football.”
With that statement, Union City head football coach Darren Bowling listed the first, foremost and maybe only item on his team’s agenda during the current open-date week.
The Tornadoes are currently minus-14 in turnover margin through eight games with 21 lost fumbles and seven interceptions thrown — an average of more than three giveaways each outing.
That statistic alone — perhaps even more than a porous defense that is giving up more than 300 yards and 34 points-per-game — has been most haunting to a UC club that must somehow fix the turnover problem if it is going to sneak into the Class 1A playoffs.
A five-turnover performance that included four which Lake County converted into TDs last week in what was ultimately a 52-46 Twister loss was particularly heartbreaking.
Union City won essentially every statistical battle — except the only one that mattered on the scoreboard — gaining 475 total yards and regularly marching up and down the field against the Falcons.
A lost fumble in the waning seconds of the first half allowed LC to cut a 16-point deficit to 34-24 at the intermission, and another in the third period after the locals had first been denied insurance points by a Lake County goal line stand, set up the TD that gave the Falcons the lead for good.
UC’s final turnover was a pick-six by Devon Jones that provided the winners with the ultimate deciding margin.
“The most frustrating thing is that we’re getting better. We’re getting better every day in practice, and we’re getting better in a lot of areas on Friday nights,” Bowling added. Published in The Messenger 10.12.11

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