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Bears, Blue Tornado poised for another thriller

Kevin Mays • Aug 31, 2018 at 11:00 AM

When Union and Richlands meet on the football field, it’s nearly certain that the game will not be decided until the final horn sounds.

“I think since Union’s been open (in 2011), for something like five consecutive years the game between us was decided on the final play of the game,” said Richlands coach Greg Mance.

Three other games were decided by two points.

Union won the last meeting  in last year’s opening round of the Region 2D playoffs by a 13-10 margin after scoring the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Tonight’s contest should be no different than the other games between two squads.

Richlands looks to be the favorite with quarterback Race Moir leading the attack.

Moir completed 19 of 24 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns last week as the Blue Tornado defeated Gate City 42-7.

Union beat J.I. Burton last week, but gave up almost 200 yards passing.

Despite the Bears’ suspect pass defense, Mance said he knows Union coach Travis Turner will have his team ready.

“They throw all kind of different looks at you defensively,” said Mance. “They’re well coached and they’re smart. They’re hard to score on.”

Mance also knows his defense will have to be ready to defend the entire field.

“They’ll line up in a double tight end formation and then run it right up the middle and bloody your nose. You don’t see many teams that do that anymore,” said Mance. “But then they’ll spread the field and run a single-back formation and run several different types of formations. If they just lined it up and ran it at you, that’d be one thing. But they do so much more.”

Mance said the Tornado will have to prepare for quarterback Bailey Turner, who is like a coach on the field.

“He can throw the ball down the field, he reads the defense well and can audible. He can do it all.”

Turner has plenty of targets including receivers Justin Falin and Alex Rasnick, while Avery Jenkins and Mason Pollier lead a multifaceted ground game. Jenkins led the Bears’ rushing attack last week with 227 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.

GATE CITY AT ABINGDON

It’s another uphill battle for Gate City.

The Blue Devils (0-1) play the toughest schedule of any Region 2D team. A prime example is tonight’s road game against Mountain 7 foe and Class 3D Abingdon (1-0).

The Falcons dismantled John Battle 34-8 last week behind the arm of Gabe Boothe, who completed 10 of 11 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

HOLSTON AT TWIN SPRINGS

The Titans (0-1) are in search of their first win under first-year head coach Keith Warner.

Twin Springs picked up 237 yards rushing last week behind the ground game of Cameron Perry and Corbin Kilgore.

PATRICK HENRY AT RYE COVE

Rye Cove also has a new coach, of sorts, under Cheyenne Osborne.

Osborne’s Eagles (0-1) face a tough test in trying to gain their first win when they host Patrick Henry.

LEBANON AT LEE HIGH

Both teams are reeling from opening-week losses.

The Pioneers travel to Lee County after suffering a loss to Russell County rival Honaker, while coach Jeremy Pendergraft’s Generals try to jump-start an offense that struggled mightily against a tough Tennessee High defense last week.

TONIGHT’S OTHER CONTESTS

Other games on tap around the region include Chilhowie at J.I. Burton, Honaker at Castlewood, Shelby Valley, Ky., at Ridgeview and Thomas Walker at Harlan, Ky.

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