MAHS can’t avoid UC’s Hyde

MAHS can’t avoid UC’s Hyde
MAHS can’t avoid UC’s Hyde | MAHS can’t avoid UC’s Hyde
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Those guys from Memphis sure could run.
But they couldn’t (Hyde).
Keylon Hyde smashed MAHS for 272 yards and three touchdowns to propel Union City to a 48-12 Class 1A playoff victory Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.
Hyde carried a whopping 41 times — the second-highest number of rushes ever in a Tornado postseason game behind Josh Nicks’ 47 attempts in UC’s state title game victory in 2009 — in recording his sixth 100-yard rushing game this season.
His TD runs covered one, seven and 32 yards, and he also tacked on a two-point conversion, kicked a pair of PATs and had four tackles and an interception.
The first-round postseason triumph gives the fourth-seeded Tornadoes (5-6) a chance at redemption in Round 2 as they’ll travel to Tiptonville this week for a second shot at top-seed Lake County (7-3). UC blew a 16-point lead the first time around against the Falcons, who converted four of five Twister turnovers into TDs in a wild 52-46 come-from-behind shootout triumph.
The victor will advance to the 1A state quarterfinals to meet the winner of the West Carroll-Gleason second-round matchup.
Both LC and WC had Week 11 byes awarded to the top two seeds in each of Class 1A’s four quadrants.
Union City punched its Round 2 ticket in predictable fashion.
The Tornadoes overcame some early electrifying dashes by upstart Memphis Academy of Health Sciences on improvised ‘backyard’ kickoff plays and methodically pounded the visiting Lions into submission.
UC scored on its first seven possessions and reeled off 41 consecutive points after falling behind 12-7 before the game was six minutes old.
Hyde, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher with 1,477 yards this season and still another year left to play, repeatedly hammered the interior of the undersize MAHS defense for gains of various lengths and nary a carry for minus-yardage.
His physical style worked hand-in-hand with the workmanlike efforts of trenchmen Walt Williams, Joseph Shanks, Walker Barnes, Brett Gore, Michael Dysart and Terrence Fitts as the Tornadoes rushed for a season-high 455 yards and totaled 490 in all.
The gameplan was vintage Darren Bowling, who sported a wide smile afterward.
“That’s just who were are and what I believe in,” the UC head coach said. “It played out just like I hoped it would.
“Keylon is just a workhorse. He gets stronger as the game goes on and he’s stronger now 11 games into the season than he was at the start of the year. That’s a byproduct of our weight program. And he’s able to carry that type of workload without getting beat up like one might think he would.”
Quarterback Travis Rutland was a nice complement to Hyde, notching his first 100-yard rushing game with 105 yards on 12 carries that included the Twisters’ first two scores on scampers of 48 and eight yards. Rutland also had a hand in a third touchdown — his only passing completion in three tries finding the wide-open waiting arms of Tymaine Strickland for a 35-yard TD after MAHS had committed 10 defenders to the box in an attempt to stop Hyde.
The Lions — in just their third varsity season and making their first-ever playoff appearance — did cause some uncomfortable moments early for the locals with a pair of long kickoff returns and then a 39-yard return of a fumbled kickoff by Laterrius Walls for a TD that gave them a brief lead.
The sequence was part of 164 return yards piled up by MAHS in the first half before Union City began the practice of pooch or onside kicking thereafter.
The Memphians nearly scored on their first play from scrimmage, stopped at the one after James Isaac’s 51-yard dash, but got in two snaps later when Jamie Isaac dented the goal line. UC actually dodged a bullet when Jamie Isaac’s 81-yard kickoff return was wasted as a bad pitch resulted in a fumble with the Tornadoes’ Kane Taylor coming up with the first of his two recoveries at the six.
The Purple and Gold dominated after that with Hyde scoring all three of his TDs in a 10-minute span in the second quarter.
Another fumble recovery by Taylor and one by Walker Barnes gave the Twisters good field position to start scoring marches, as did an intereception by Keontre Murrell.
A four-yard touchdown run by Khiry Lewis capped a 12-play, 63-yard drive in the third period that put the clock in continuous motion via the 35-point mercy rule.
“I thought we did a great job of keeping our composure there early when they made a couple of big plays,” Bowling added. “When you have the type of athletes and the speed they do, they’re going to find creases every once and while and make big plays. Other than with the kick plays early and a couple of others, I thought we played very well defensively.”
Turnovers — a key factor in most UC losses this season — were never an issue as the Tornadoes were guilty of just one and came up with four takeaways in all.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.7.11

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