Two losses look alike to Twisters
Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 7:00 pm
Messenger Sports Editor
If one saw Union City’s first loss two weeks ago to Huntingdon, they essentially saw the Tornadoes’ second Friday against Dresden.
Using basically the same blueprint as the Mustangs, who beat UC by two touchdowns earlier, the second-ranked Lions (Class 2A) rode a spectacular performance by Devan Raymer to hand the No. 8 (1A) Tornadoes a similar 28-14 setback at Rotary Field.
Raymer, operating out of inherently a single-wing set offensively, ran for 212 yards and three touchdowns and threw a 58-yard scoring pass to Logan Thomas to mimmick the peformance of Huntingdon QB Jacob Warbritton, who ran for 207 yards and accounted for four TDs in all from an almost identical scheme two weeks earlier.
And in much the same fashion as Warbritton did to the Twisters, Raymer provided the final dagger in the waning seconds when he intercepted a Travis Rutland pass to essentially seal the outcome.
Afterward, Union City head coach Darren Bowling admitted it was like watching a re-run.
“I don’t know if there was any difference at all,” an obviously-disappointed Bowling said. “They killed us with the same plays that Huntingdon did and Raymer killed us just like Warbritton did with the quarterback keepers. Obviously, we didn’t correct anything from when we played Huntingdon two weeks ago.
“Just like Huntingdon, Dresden has a fine football team. They do things well. And Raymer, in the same mold of Warbritton, is obviously an awfully fine player.”
Of as much concern to the UC coach as his team’s second loss in six games this season was the condition of star fullback Keylon Hyde, who suffered a concussion on the Tornadoes’ second series.
Hyde, who entered the contest needing just 51 yards to become the all-time leading rusher in UCHS history, pierced the Lions for 30 yards on his first four carries and had a run of nearly 20 yards negated by a penalty. He was left visibly shaken and wobbly by a Raymer hit though, with 6:54 showing in the first quarter and taken at halftime by family members to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with the aforementioned injury.
He was to be evaluated further today with his future status uncertain.
“When Keylon went down, I thought we panicked on both sides of the ball,” Bowling said. “Anytime you lose your leader and your go-to guy, you have a chance of that happening. We never recovered.
“In 1A football, it’s often the case that if you lose your best player, it affects everything you do. It’d be the same thing as Dresden losing Raymer or Huntingdon losing Warbritton. I just feel like we never truly got over Keylon not being out there.”
The Tornadoes never found an answer for Raymer either.
Mostly taking direct snaps and either charging up the middle or off-tackle on either side, the generously listed 5-8, 160-pound gritty Lion performer regularly gashed the UC defense and scored on runs of 5, 1 and 24 yards in running his seasonal rushing total to 976 yards with his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season and second over 200 yards.
He also hit a wide-open Logan Thomas with a pretty 58-yard TD pass just a minute into the second half as the Twisters were crowding the line to stop his keepers.
The Tornadoes, meanwhile, never found a rhythm on offense when Hyde left the game — managing just 193 total yards, a season-low, and turning the ball over three times.
Ricky Henry and Kane Taylor — the latter a lineman — each spent time at the key fullback spot in Union City’s midline/veer offense, and the locals decided speed advantage on the flanks turned out to be a non-factor without the bruising and nimble-footed Hyde between the tackles.
UC got its first touchdown on a 91-yard kickoff return by Khiry Lewis late in the first period, just 15 seconds after Raymer had gotten the Lions on the scoreboard first with the first of his scoring scampers.
Down by two scores after Dresden reached paydirt on its opening second-half possession via the Raymer-to-Thomas hookup, the Tornadoes pieced together their most-sustained drive of the game that was culminated by Lewis’ 17-yard TD dash around left end. Cace Cook’s point-after got Purple and Gold within 21-14 with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Twister defense held on the ensuing series, setting up easily the key sequence of the night.
A 49-yard sprint by Tymaine Strickland had Union City threatening for a tying touchdown at the Dresden 20 before the Tornadoes faced a 4th-and-1 three plays later at the 11. Rutland tried to sneak fo the first down over left guard and was hit hard, the ball popping loose with the Lions’ Austin Daniel recovering.
Dresden then mounted what was a clinching TD with Raymer zig-zagging his way through seemingly the entire defense on a 24-yard scoring run with 4:32 to play.
Brett Gore, Joseph Shanks, JaVonte’ Moffatt and Strickland all were in on a half-dozen tackles to top the UC defensive chart with Strickland recording three stops for lost yardge, Gore two and Shanks a sack.
The Tornadoes get back into District 14A action this week, hosting Trenton.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.24.12