Game Day

Game Day
Obion Central at Covington

   PLACE, TIME: Covington Athletic Field; 7 p.m.
2011 RECORDS: Obion Central 9-2; Covington 9-2.
COACHES (RECORDS):  Obion Central: Shawn Jackson (27-26 in 5th season); Covington: Marty Wheeler (30-33 in 6th season).
LAST MEETING: Oct. 14. Covington won 50-36.
SERIES RECORD: Covington leads 18-6.
KEY PLAYERS: Obion Central — QB Trey Phipps, LB Josh Quinton, RB/DB LaDevin Fair, WR/LB Tanner Cary, WR/DB Mason McGrew, WR/LB Marcus Parr. Covington — RBs Johnston White, Terence Pierson and Colliar Robinson, QB Britt Burnett.
  OUTLOOK: The sixth-ranked Rebels can pick from their motivational ploys — though all center on avenging the earlier loss to No. 3 Covington. In that loss, OC was dealing with the effects of Jackson’s being mostly-absent during a 10-day period when he was battling diverticulitis. The Rebels then had their perfect season spoiled with the setback, and with it, the most realistic chance for them to win the District 13AA title and earn a top playoff seed and home games that go with such a perk. A victory will/would also mark the first time in the 51-year history that Obion Central will have won a second-round playoff game and advanced as far as the quarterfinals. Both publicly and privately, Jackson said the first outcome would’ve been different had he not been ill and insists “we should’ve been ahead by four touchdowns at the half.” There’s the issue of OC’s inability to stop the run vs. opponents who are committed to such, though, as evidenced to the 512 yards gained by the Chargers the first time around. White, who set a Covington school record last week for most yards in a single season with 1,580, had 219 vs. the Rebels the first go-round and is part of a three-headed monster that includes Robinson (near 1,100 yards) and Pierson (who had 800, despite missing four games due to injury). There have been rumors that Carlos Williams — a 1,300-yard rusher as a sophomore last year — could return from shoulder surgery he had performed after Week 2, though his coach denied that. Obion Central has had to do some shuffling on the defensive side and might have its best chance at redemption in another shootout. Phipps (2,850 passing yards, 36 TDs), Fair (1,300 rushing yards) and a collection of receivers that includes Parr, McGrew and Cary give OC an explosive offensive unit that averages over 40 points per-game. The Rebels have scored 35 or more in 10 of their 11 outings. While Central has won just two playoff games ever, Covington is 28-15 all-time in this, its 16th season in the playoffs, having advanced to the state finals on three different occasions and the semis three other times. The victor will face the winner of the Mitchell-Bolivar game in Round 3.

Union City @ Lake County

   PLACE, TIME: Bill Wray Field; 7 p.m.
2011 RECORDS:  Union City 5-6; Lake County 7-3.
COACHES (RECORDS):  Union City: Darren Bowling (139-78 in 18th season); Lake County: David Barger (53-44 in 9th season).
LAST MEETING: Oct. 7. Lake County won 52-46.
SERIES RECORD — Union City leads 22-13.
Union City — RB/LB Keylon Hyde, QB Travis Rutland OL/DL Joseph Shanks, Slot/SS Khiry Lewis, Slot/LB Tymaine Strickland. Lake County — RBs Devon Jones and Ricky Boyd, WR/DB Rafael Tyler, QB Nick Price, LB Caylan Bargery, DB Caleb Bledsoe.
  OUTLOOK: The Tornadoes will take their stab at revenge against LC in a rematch of an earlier meeting in which UC led 34-18 just before halftime before the Falcons scored 28 unanswered points and took advantage of a mistake-prone Union City team that was guilty of five turnovers. Easily the difference in the contest was the play of Lake County’s Tyler, who had six catches for 259 yards and three touchdowns and another catch-and-run reception covering 97 yards. The Twisters won essentially every statistical battle except the one that counted, outgaining the Green and Gold 475-312, with Hyde running for 203 yards and three TDs. Rutland threw two touchdown passes — including an 80-yarder to Strickland on the first play from scrimmage — but also tossed a critical pick-six that Jones returned to paydirt with 1:14 left that sealed the outcome. Neither team has beaten an opponent with a winning record this season and the Falcons are the lone entry in the six-club West quadrant that earned automatic qualifier status. The two teams have combined for 96 or more points in three of their last four meetings and UC has scored at least 40 in all of those matchups. Both programs are tradition-rich and past state champions, LC with two titles and three runnerup finishes in 30 trips to the playoffs. UC is in the playoffs for the 20th year all-time, having won it all in Class A in 2009 after runnerup showings in three other seasons — two in double-A. The winner will get the Gleason-West Carroll winner in the Class 1A quarterfinals. Published in The Messenger 11.11.11

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