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Vikings show UC how to win title

Vikings show UC how to win title
Vikings show UC how to win title | Vikings show UC how to win title
Messenger Sports
In this championship showdown, one team was in its element while the other looked a bit overwhelmed.
Humboldt capitalized on a tight Union City squad that suffered four turnovers and posted negative yards passing for a 29-0 win in the battle for the District 14A title Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
“In a big-game atmosphere like this with two tradition-rich schools getting after it with a district championship on the line, I think our youth showed tonight,” UC head coach Darren Bowling said. “We were wide-eyed and green in a big-game atmosphere. I’m glad we got it out of the way before the playoffs.”
Humboldt finished the regular season at 9-1 overall and a perfect 6-0 in the district, earning an automatic bid into the Class 2A state playoffs.
Union City, meanwhile, failed in its bid to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season and will take a 4-6 overall record into the 1A playoffs as an at-large bid. UC finished 4-2 in the district.
“We have an opportunity to get to the playoffs, and that’s when we really need to peak and play good football,” Bowling said. “So I’ll trade this one for a good run in the playoffs.”
The Golden Tornadoes were guilty of two interceptions and two lost fumbles while managing just 152 total yards, a number lowered by minus-4 yards passing.
UC was hurting physically, too, as center Joseph Shanks went out with a broken right pinky finger that required surgery, forcing Bowling to move Walker Barnes to that spot on offensive snaps and give quarterback Travis Rutland a battlefield promotion to long snapper on punts.
Humboldt, meanwhile, spread the wealth around as eight different players ran the ball and three different players caught passes. The Vikings finished with 337 total yards, including 258 on the ground.
“I thought we did a good job defensively against them,” Bowling said. “I know most folks might have seen it differently, but if you saw them on film in the games they’ve played, they’re unbelievable. Our defense did a good job of containing them, for the most part.
“We got tired at the end, maybe lost interest a little, and they made some big things happen. But, when we were in the game, especially in the first half, we did some good things. They just have a lot of horses in the stable, and it’s hard to keep them pinned in for a whole game.”
Union City looked good out of the gate in moving from its own 23 to the Humboldt 25, getting a 16-yard fun from Khiry Lewis and 22 from Rutland on the drive.
But, two plays went backward and then a Rutland pass over the middle was picked off, giving the Vikings possession at their own five.
UC’s defense bent a few times, allowing runs of 12 and 11 yards to quarterback Jaylen Montague as Humboldt moved to the UC 46, but ultimately did not break in forcing a punt.
After a three-and-out, UC picked up what could be termed a moral victory by holding Humboldt to a 23-yard field goal by Daniel Blankenship for the game’s first points at 11:12 of the second period.
But, Union City’s season-long knack for giving away possessions hijacked the Twisters twice more in the second period, both leading to Viking scores and once again in the third.
Ryeon Wedley and CC Moody scored in the second as a result of gifts, and then the Vikings’ showed off their running game in the third period when Moody eased across the goal line from seven yards out at 2:09.
The final touchdown, coming with 3:07 to play in the game, was the result of the game’s longest play, David Wilson breaking free for a 49-yard run.
Keylon Hyde led Union City on both sides of the ball, rushing for 80 yards on 21 carries and posting a team-best seven tackles. Published in The Messenger 10.31.11

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