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Game Day

Game Day
Union City @ South Fulton

  PLACE, TIME: SF Athletic Field; 7:30 p.m.
2011 RECORDS:  UC 3-5 (3-1); SF 4-5 (2-3).
COACHES (RECORDS):  Union City: Darren Bowling (137-77 in 18th season); South Fulton: Kelly Spivey (22-20 in 4th season).
LAST MEETING: 2010 — Union City won 24-20.
SERIES RECORD — UC leads, 11-1.
KEY PLAYERS: Union City — RB/LB Keylon Hyde, QB Travis Rutland OL/DL Joseph Shanks, Slot/SS Khiry Lewis. South Fulton — FB/DL Cody Tatum, QB JaQuay Garmon, HB/SS J.P. Fowler, LB Willie Kneuppel, WR/DB Harrison Hawks.
  OUTLOOK: Essentially, the playoffs begin now for these two. Union City — coming off an open date — is the more desperate of the two, needing a win here to set up a Week 10 scenario that could see them playing Humboldt for at least a share of the District 14A championship and one of two automatic postseason bids awarded the league. While other teams are seeing their ranks dwindle due to injuries, the Tornadoes are actually getting closer to full strength with the expected return of center/linebacker Brett Gore from a second knee injury suffered earlier this year. UC’s biggest concern is ball security. The Twisters have been guilty of 28 turnovers in eight games — half of those in their last three outings. The Purple and Gold is a minus-14 in turnover margin. Union City did gain a season-high 475 yards in its last game against Lake County. Hyde needs just 53 yards rushing to go over 1,000 for the second straight season. SF has stumbled the last two weeks, losing back-to-back games vs. Trenton and Lake County after winning four straight to make up for an 0-3 start. The late-season struggles have become a trend during Spivey’s tenure as South Fulton lost four straight to end the year in 2008, three of four in ’09 and three in a row last year. The Red Devils have not run the ball nearly as effectively as they did during their victory streak, but did get a season-high 264 yards passing and two TDs by Garmon against Lake County. With UC’s widely-noted struggles against the pass, Garmon could be a huge factor against the Tornadoes. A win won’t necessarily get South Fulton into the playoffs with a 5-5 overall record putting them on the bubble and in a wait-and-see mode with an open date on the schedule for Week 10. A loss won’t necessarily extinguish the Devils hopes either, with the possibility of a handful of 4-6 clubs getting into the Class 1A 24-team bracket. Heading into this week, Union City is ranked 22nd and South Fulton 19th on that list. It’s Senior Night at SFHS.

Obion Central @ Haywood

  PLACE, TIME: L.Z. Hurley Stadium; 7 p.m.
2011 RECORDS: OC 7-1 (4-1); Haywood 1-7 (0-5).
COACHES (RECORDS):  Obion Central: Shawn Jackson (25-25 in 5th season); Haywood: Slade Calhoun (1-7 in 1st season).
LAST MEETING: 2008. Haywood won 47-0.
SERIES RECORD: Haywood has won all eight previous meetings.
KEY PLAYERS: Obion Central — QB Trey Phipps, LB Josh Quinton, RB/DB LaDevin Fair, WR/LB Tanner Cary, WR/DB Mason McGrew, LB Nathan Spaulding. Haywood — RB Justice Brown, RB Terrance Granberry, QB Brice Young, WR Martez Cummage.
  OUTLOOK: Though head coach Shawn Jackson likely won’t be in attendance as he continues to deal with health issues, the Tomcats appear to be a made-to-order opponent for OC, which will look to bounce back from its first loss season. The setback cost the Rebels three places in the Associated Press state rankings and likely even a share of the District 13AA regular season championship. However, the loss might not keep No. 6 Central from gaining a top seed in the West Quadrant of the Class 4A playoffs. Wins in the final two weeks will probably mean the county locals will do no worse than a No. 2 seed. Fair was magnificent last week with more than 300 all-purpose yards, but the normally-prolific OC passing game was plagued by drops and four trips inside the Covington 30 that produced just six points. Fair, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards as a junior, went over the 1,000-yard mark last Friday. Phipps has thrown at least two TD passes in seven of Obion Central’s eight games and now has 26 for the season with just four interceptions. Cary is coming off his best game of the year and is now part of a trio with McGrew and Parr who have at least 24 catches each. The once-proud Haywood program has fallen on hard times of late in this its 100th season of playing football. The Tomcats posted consecutive 4-6 seasons and missed the playoffs under longtime assistant Tim Seymour before hiring Calhoun for his first head coaching job after he’d previously been the defensive coordinator at Brighton. Calhoun has attempted to install the “Tony Franklin Offense,” but Haywood has struggled adapting to the pass-happy scheme. The Tomcats have been blown out regularly, losing all seven of its games by 25 points or more, and have given up 40 or more points in six of its seven setbacks. Published in The Messenger 10.21.11

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