By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Huntingdon and Union City set 7 p.m. Saturday as the re-start time to resume their game suspended a night earlier due to severe weather.
Apparently, only the Mustangs got the memo.
Third-ranked Hunting-don overwhelmed No. 2 UC when play continued with a 22-point second-quarter outburst and went on to beat the Tornadoes 38-22 in a showdown of unbeaten Top 10 Class 1A teams at War Memorial Stadium.
The contest was halted from its original Friday play date by a spectacular lightning show and then subsequent heavy rains at the 1:24 mark of the opening period with the Mustangs up 8-6. UCHS principal and game administrator Wes Kennedy waited more than an hour before then consulting with both coaches and suspending the contest until Saturday.
When play recommenced less than 24 hours after its original kickoff, Huntingdon dominated Union City during the remaining time before the half, scoring on all three of its possessions against a seemingly lackluster and uninspired Tornado squad.
The Ponies (4-0) bullied UC in the trenches on offense and unleashed quarterback Jacob War-britton in its modern-day version of the old single-wing offense with the Huntingdon signal-caller accounting for 316 of his team’s 364 yards.
Warbritton ran over, around and through a Twister defense for the most part with 207 yards rushing, two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions while also throwing for 109 yards and two more scores.
He then provided the dagger for his team on the defensive side, intercepting a pass in the endzone with just over two minutes to play to thwart UC’s final rally.
While complimentary of both Warbritton and the Mustangs in general, Union City head coach Darren Bowling was at a loss to explain his team’s uninspired play when the contest resumed on Saturday.
“I just really don’t know what to say about why played like we did in the second quarter,” he said. “In my time coaching, I’ve never had a situation like that where we suspended a game and then picked it back up the next day. It’s obvious we weren’t ready to play when we started back up, and that responsibility falls on me.
“I think that Huntingdon certainly lived up to its hype up front with its offensive line, and I think we can put to rest the lies that this Warbritton (Jacob) wasn’t as fast or shifty or as good an athlete as his brother.”
Warbritton, whose older brother Tyler was a Class 1A Mr. Football finalist while leading the Ponies to an unbeaten regular season and No. 1 ranking a year ago, scored on runs of four and 30 yards, and threw two TD passes covering 11 yards (Glynn Hilliard and Devin Dean) — both on simple patterns in the flat, just beyond the line of scrimmage.
The most damaging of Huntingdon’s scores and the one likely to have killed any chances the Tornadoes had at rallying came just 29 seconds before halftime when Warbritton connected with Dean after hooking up with Devin Dean a play earlier for a 37-yard gain. A roughing-the-passer penalty added more yardage to the pickup before Huntingdon took its commanding 30-6 lead at the break.
UC did show some signs of life in the second half, however, actually outscoring the visitors two-touchdowns-to-one and driving into Huntingdon territory on all four of its four possessions over the final two periods.
And the final tally could’ve been considerably closer if not for a pair of Twister turnovers — one a fumble just inside Mustang territory, and the other an interception thrown by Travis Rutland in the endzone after Union City had reached the Mustang 4-yard line.
Hyde (16-107—2 TDs) had the second of his two touchdowns on a 21-yard run after a Keontre Murrell interception late in the third period.
A 13-yard scoring scamper by Khiry Lewis with 5:10 to go and Hyde’s two-point conversion accounted for the final margin.
“I think we showed some grit and some fight and some signs in the second half that we can be a really good football team down the road,” Bowling said. “You learn a lot about yourself in losses and by playing good football teams. We know now what a really good football teams looks like, and what we have to do better to beat them if we were to meet them again down the road. I was proud that we battled in the second half when we could’ve laid down. That was obviously a very-good sign — both for right now and in the future.”
Linebacker Kane Taylor had 10 total tackles, including one for lost yardage to pace UC defensively. Hyde and Jamie Pirtle both recorded eight stops, the former leading the Tornadoes with seven solo hits.
Union City (3-1, 1-0) jumps back into District 14A play this week with a trip to Greenfield (0-3, 0-1), which is mired in a 14-game losing skid dating back to the 2010 season.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.10.12