How good is Union City?
At least some light will be shed on that subject this week when the Tornadoes host Huntingdon in a matchup of No. 2 and No. 3 in the latest Associated Press prep rankings.
The game has captured the interest of not only UC and Mustang fans, but many other rural West Tennessee coaches and casual observers, too.
“We’ll see about single-A football in West Tennessee next week, won’t we,” rookie Dresden head coach Keith Hodge asked immediately after his team beat McKenzie 35-14 last week to remain unbeaten and in the Top 10 in Class 2A.
The Lions play both teams down the road, Union City in two weeks, and Huntingdon in the regular season finale that could decide the District 13A championship.
The Tornadoes and Mustangs have become respected rivals in the past several years, UC holding a 15-9 edge in all-time meetings.
Three times the two have met twice in a season — once during the regular campaign and then again deep in the state playoffs with Union City winning two of those three postseason meetings.
The Twisters won their only football state title in 2009 when they avenged a regular season loss to Huntingdon with a resounding quarterfinal triumph.
Huntingdon, meanwhile, got payback vs. UC for a regular season loss in 1999 when it beat the locals 17-10 in the Class 2A semifinals before losing to Goodpasture in the state championship game.
BIG RED DOMIN-ANCE — Kelly Spivey has never lost to Fulton City.
The coach knows his South Fulton troops can’t afford to now.
SF has dominated its Twin-Cities rival in Spivey’s four previous games against the Bulldogs and needs to make it five in a row to make up for a disappointing 1-2 start that has the Red Devils behind the eight-ball early in the season.
“We just needs wins,” Spivey said after last week’s 49-34 loss to Humboldt, when previewing the latest installment of the Ken-Tenn rivalry that resumes Friday night. “We were hoping to be at least 2-1 after three games, and wins are so important the way our playoff system is set up.
“It doesn’t make any difference who they are against. We just need to win games.”
South Fulton has averaged 45 ppg in beating Fulton City in each of Spivey’s seasons at the Big Red helm.
The most lopsided of those triumphs have come each of the past two years when the Redmen have won 42-6 and 47-6, respectively, against a pack of Bulldogs who have been thin in numbers. SF won the 2009 meeting with FC 55-26.
The most competitive game in the series since Spivey assumed the Red Devil post was in his first season when South Fulton held off the Big Blue 36-30 as part of a run of six straight victories that began Spivey’s coaching career.
Fulton City’s Brad Rozzell is 0-2 against the Devils in his brief tenure on the Bulldog sidelines.
There has been discussion that this could be the last meeting of the two schools on the gridiron, given the uncertainty of the Bulldog football program.
“I don’t want to be the one who ends it (the rivalry), but — especially given the way our playoffs are — we have the have assurances that we have 10 games,” Spivey said of the issue. “A forfeit win is one thing, but if Fulton were to have to drop its program after we made out the schedules and we couldn’t fine another game, that would just leave us with nine games.
“And that would not be good for us.”
WRONG WAY — If Obion Central is going to salvage its season, it needs to turn things around quickly.
History, however, is not much comfort to the Rebs.
This season marks the 11th time in the program’s 52-year history OC has opened a season with three consecutive losses.
None of the previous 10 turned out well.
In fact, four of those seasons saw the Rebels fail to win a game as Central went 0-10 in 1978 under Jim McPeake, 1988 under Jim Wiggins, 2007 in Jason Driggers’ only year at the helm and then again the following year, 2008, in current head coach Shawn Jackson’s first season.
OC was 0-5 before beating Lake County 33-21 in 1976 under Charles Akers, ultimately finishing 2-7, while Jim Wiggins resigned after his team’s second win following six straight losses in 1991.
Larry Shanks actually took teams to the playoffs despite an 0-5 start in 1994 and 0-3 in 1996. The Rebels finished 2-9 and 4-7, respectively.
Darren Bowling, currently the head coach at Union City, was 0-4 on the way to a 2-8 mark in 2004 and 0-3 as part of a 3-7 record in 2005.
The current Central team will again go for its first win of the season Friday night against Crockett County at Alamo.
It won’t be easy, though, as the Cavaliers are 3-0 in Kevin Ward’s second year as head coach.
— Compiled by
and Kevin Weaks
Published in The Messenger 9.5.12