Twisters must re-fill emotional tank before making another playoff trip

Twisters must re-fill emotional tank before making another playoff trip
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Union City had to reach deep into its reserve last week.
Darren Bowling believes the Tornadoes still have plenty in their tank, though.
UC, no doubt, expended a ton of energy — both physically and emotionally — in rallying from a 21-point deficit to a stunning 42-33 victory over Lake County last week in Round 2 of the Class 1A state playoffs.
The win, which represented the largest postseason comeback ever in the history of the Twister program, should serve as a springboard into this week’s quarterfinal game at West Carroll, which is also coming off a sentimental triumph.
“Our kids were really excited afterward, and when we came into team meetings Monday and started our preparation for West Carroll, they were still fired up and ready to go to work,” Bowling said. “A lot of times after such an emotional win over a rival, you worry a little about being flat.
“I don’t think that’ll be an issue this week. Instead,  I think it will propel us on to play well and with great energy and a sense of purpose this week.”
The War Eagles (7-4), a No. 2 seed in the West quadrant, earned their program’s first-ever quarterfinal berth with a 35-14 win over Gleason.
WC, which is in the playoffs for the 12th time since opening its doors in 1983, had previously advanced to Round 2 in 1998, 2000 and ’04 with victories, but earned a first-round bye this year. The War Eagles are 4-11 all-time in the playoffs and have never defeated Union City in four previous regular season meetings.
And while breaking new ground with its quarterfinal appearance this week, West Carroll head coach Josh Fronabarger insists his team isn’t satisfied with that first-time accomplishment.
“I’m sure we’ll look back on it when the season’s over and have a great deal of pride, but we still like we have a lot of football still to play,” the fourth-year skipper said. “I think the kids were excited after last week, but I don’t think they’re satisfied.
“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t come out this week and play with a great deal of intensity.”
• REBELS’ NEW AR-SENAL — Obion Central will truly have to reload next season offensively.
The Rebels, whose history-making campaign ended last week in a heartbreaking 42-41 double-overtime loss at Covington, will be forced to find replacements for most-all of the components that made up a record-setting offense this year.
OC averaged 41.5 ppg, scoring 499 points in all in 12 games, easily a school mark.
The program’s graduation losses will be especially extensive on the offensive side where most all of the team’s playmakers will move on.
Heading the list is quarterback Trey Phipps, who threw for 5,410 yards and 60 touchdowns over the past two seasons. The southpaw signal-caller threw for just over 3,000 yards and 38 scores as a senior.
The balanced Rebel attack that averaged over 400 yards-per-game will have to replace two-time 1,000-yard rusher LaDevin Fair also.
Fair ended up with 1,421 yards and 18 TDs after running for 1,045 and 15 scores as a junior. He also had 27 receptions for 313 yards and three more scores out of the backfield.
Most all of Phipps’ deep receiving corps must be replaced also.
Marcus Parr, who transferred from Dyer County last spring, had 55 catches for more than 1,100 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Mason McGrew and Tanner Cary capped stellar prep careers with more good numbers this season. McGrew had 43 grabs for 871 yards and nine TDs to go with 31 catches for 497 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.
Cary had 33 for 528 and five TDs this season after snaring 40 passes for 579 yards and four scores last season.
Bryce Warner, a sophomore-to-be next season, will be the top rusher and receiver to return with 180 yards on the ground and four catches for 32 yards this season.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger. Published in The Messenger 11.16.11

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