Weeks off come at right time for banged-up Central, UC

Weeks off come at right time for banged-up Central, UC

The open date couldn’t have come at a better time for Union City.
The Golden Tornadoes, coming off an emotional 34-28 overtime victory over Lake County in a contest in which they were missing four two-way starters for various reasons, will now use a bye week to rest, heal and polish up on some fundamental work.
UC was without three injured regulars (fullback/linebacker Keylon Hyde, offensive lineman/linebacker Kane Taylor and slot/safety Khiry Lewis), yet still posted a scintillating win against the Falcons when Ricky Henry bulled his way into the endzone from two yards out in the extra series. A fourth player — slot/linebacker Tymaine Strickland — quit the team prior to last week’s contest.
There’s a strong possibility that Hyde, Taylor and Lewis could all be back in the lineup next week when Union City hosts South Fulton in a critical District 14A matchup that could enhance the Twisters’ standing and determine that of the Red Devils.
Hyde, who needs just a handful of yards to become the school’s all-time leading rusher, was sidelined vs. Lake County by a shoulder injury, while Taylor had a hurt foot that was finally diagnosed as a deep bruise. Lewis underwent finger surgery last Thursday for a broken appendage.
Head coach Darren Bowling gave UC Monday off from practice and will also give his troops a free day Friday before preparations begin in earnest for South Fulton.
The Tornadoes did practice in full gear on Tuesday  and were scheduled to do so today and Thursday.
“Hopefully, we can heal up some for the stretch run, but we still have some scheme work and fundamental things to polish up on this week that has to be done in pads,” Bowling said. “We’re not going to beat them up, but we can’t get accomplished what we need to by going out in shorts.
“Last week was such a big win for us, because of the way we overcame adversity and came together as a team. But we have to build on it, not rest on it, if we’re going to reach our goals.”
The week off also began with something very rare in Bowling’s UC program — free time.
The team and coaches took this past weekend on a mini-vacation with an overnight trip to St. Louis and Six Flags.
“Several weeks ago we decided, as a coaching staff, that these guys don’t really get to go anywhere or do anything,” Bowling said “Their vacation every year is camp.”
TIME TO REST, II — Timing is everything.
Had Obion Central’s open date come a week earlier on the schedule, it likely would have been looked on within the Rebel camp as bad timing.
The Rebels, after all, had just won their second straight game after beginning the season with four consecutive losses and hoped to be building momentum for a late run at the playoffs.
However, the week off probably at the perfect time for Central.
Not only did Central suffer a 41-14 loss to South Gibson in a District 13AA game, the Rebels were banged up seven weeks into the season.
OC went into the week off looking to heel up some big bumps and bruises, including injuries that kept running back Bryce Warner out of the lineup  and limited Trent Mann’s playing time against the Hornets.
The Rebels will return to action Friday night at Covington, the No 2-ranked in Class 4A, to begin perhaps the toughest stretch of what has already been a rough season.
OC will follow with a home date against an improved Haywood team and then end up with Oct. 26 against Dyersburg, ranked eighth in this week’s 4A poll.
There is, however, some historical evidence that Central can handle the task of playing highly-touted team.
In 2005, the Rebels finished with a 3-7 record, but the third win of that season was a 17-7 upset of Covington, the state’s No. 1-ranked team.
DESPERATE TIMES — If South Fulton is going to make its fourth consecutive playoff appearance and avoid repeating the recent past when it has struggled down the stretch, the Devils will need a 180-degree turnaround.
Head coach Kelly Spivey admitted his team was essentially “uninterested” last week against Trenton after falling behind early, then sitting through a lightning delay of nearly two hours before Peabody laid a 50-0 smackdown on the Redmen.
If there is a glimmer of hope for SF to have a chance for a fourth victory that would likely get the team into the postseason, it is that the week’s foe — Lake County —is similarly down in the dumps.
The Falcons, a prohibitive favorite against Union City last week when the Tornadoes were missing four two-way starters, were admittedly “devastated,” according to head coach David Barger when Union City scored in overtime to claim a 34-28 decision in the Tiptonville mud and rain.
“Our kids were really down,” Barger told The Messenger on Sunday. “We seemingly had everything going for us coming into the game. But, give Union City credit, they played well and really rose up to the challenge where their backs were against the wall with all they had going on.”
Lake County could still end up with seven victories if it wins its final three games that also includes matchups vs. Halls and Humboldt in addition to Friday’s contest vs. the Red Devils.
SF, meanwhile, must reverse a trend under Spivey that has seen the team go 0-4, 0-4, 1-3, and 0-4 during his tenure in the final month of his seasons at the helm.
— compiled by
Mike Hutchens
and  Kevin Weaks

Published in The Messenger 10.10.12

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