Urchins close season at home against Tigers

Coach Scott Duley huddles with the Urchin defense during a timeout at Mantachie. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Coach Scott Duley huddles with the Urchin defense during a timeout at Mantachie. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union will wrap up their 2014 season on Friday with a home game against the playoff-bound Hatley Tigers. East Union will finish out of the playoffs after making it to the second round last season.
“Hatley is a much improved team from last year, they are in the playoffs for the first time in their school’s history,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “They throw the ball well and run the ball well. They are well-coached, have skilled linemen and I am impressed with their execution.”
Hatley has been averaging 210 yards rushing and 127 yards passing over the first nine games of the season.
Chance Lindsey has rushed for 1,180 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the Tiger offense. In the passing department, Hatley is led by quarterback Jonathan Waycaster whose passing numbers are 49 of 127 for 1,146 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Hatley is led in receiving by the duo of Jaylon Jernighan and Keyshawn Forchee. Jernighan has 21 catches for 493 yards and five touchdowns while Forchee has 20 catches totaling 275 and three touchdowns.
“The defensive scheme we have this week is a good one, but we have got to execute,” Duley said. “If we don’t execute, it won’t be good, but if we do, I think we can slow their offense down and then score when we are on offense.”
East Union will counter with Zane Wilkinson at quarterback, Jamie McCullough will be at running back and Lane Plunk will be a dual threat rushing and receiving. Thomas Moore led the Urchins last week with four catches against Mantachie.
“We will essentially have the same personnel that we had last week,” Duley said. “We may be a little more senior-heavy on defense since it will be the last game these seniors.”
Duley listed these keys for the Urchins to win: no turnovers, be productive early and do not give up the big play defensively.

Mustangs stampede the Urchins

Thomas Moore heads to the sideline after making the catch on Zane Wilkinson's pass. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Thomas Moore heads to the sideline after making the catch on Zane Wilkinson’s pass. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
MANTACHIE – East Union needed to defeat Mantachie to stay in the 1-2A playoff hunt and the Urchins were not able to stay with the Mustangs, losing 40-16 on Thursday.
“I felt like from the very beginning that we played poorly,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “Our kids were focused tonight, I don’t want to make excuses, but I think part of what we are seeing is that this is such a new program, we have young men who want to so badly, but they just don’t know how to. We lost players from last year that had played since they were little. They had a great year and they graduated.”
East Union held Mantachie out of the end zone until the Mustangs scored with 1:28 left in the first quarter. The kick was good and Mantachie held that 7-0 lead as the quarter ended.
The Mustangs burned the Urchins with an 80-yard touchdown pass with 8:01 left in the second quarter and proceeded to reel off two more touchdowns before the half, taking a 28-0 lead into the break.
Mantachie added a touchdown in the third quarter to extend their lead to 34-0, but missed on the extra point attempt.
The Mustangs scored their final points of the night with 8:57 remaining, scoring on a 19-yard run. East Union blocked the extra point try and Mantachie led 40-0.
East Union scored with 7:50 left in the game as Lane Plunk scored on a 62-yard run. Plunk also caught the pass from Zane Wilkinson on the two-point conversion and Mantachie led 40-8.
East Union scored again with 2:09 remaining as Wilkinson connected with brother Joel Wilkinson on a 3-yard pass. Plunk caught the pass from Wilkinson on the two-point attempt and the Urchins trailed by the final score of 40-16.
“We didn’t execute our offense, we didn’t execute our defense, Duley said. “I knew what they were going to do, they (Mantachie) didn’t do anything that we didn’t practice against. I’ve just got to do a better job coaching. If they (East Union) don’t know how to play the game as well as they want to, then it’s my job to teach them that. We moved our eighth graders up and they did a good job. They are going to help us tremendously down the road. Kye Roberts got in and Joel Wilkinson played all night.”
Plunk rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown to lead the Urchin ground game. Thomas Moore led all receivers with four catches for 51 yards.
Quarterback Zane Wilkinson was 10 of 22 passing for 104 yards and one touchdown.
East Union closes out their season with a home game against Hatley on Friday. Hatley will make the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Urchins travel to Mantachie in search of division win

Josh Whitenton hangs on the ball carrier as John Isaac Roberts and Dustin Adams move in to help on the tackle. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Josh Whitenton hangs on the ball carrier as John Isaac Roberts and Dustin Adams move in to help on the tackle. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union hits the road for a Thursday night Division 1-2A contest with Mantachie. East Union enters the game needing to win both of their remaining game to be able to make the playoffs. Both teams enter with 0-3 division records.
“I think that they are a lot like us, they have suffered a lot of injuries this year,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “They do what they have to do to be successful from week to week. They will change up their defensive front based on what they are going to see that week. Their offense is the same way, what they think they will be able to that week, they intend to line up and do, which is good. We have never beaten Mantachie and this will be the fourth year that we have played them, so we’d really like to be able to get away with a win”
East Union hopes to have a couple of their injured starters back for the game, still the Urchins will be without the services of about 10 starters.
“I believe if we play well that we can play with them,” Duley said. “If we lose this game, we cannot go to the playoffs. We’d like to finish the season strong with two wins and finish 5-5 for our overall record in regular season.”

Bearcats blank the Urchins

Thomas Moore runs for the sideline with a Baldwyn defender in hot pursuit. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Thomas Moore runs for the sideline with a Baldwyn defender in hot pursuit. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ELLISTOWN – Baldwyn features a lot of team speed and East Union received a full dose of it on Friday as the Bearcats shutout the Urchins 61-0 in Division 1-2A football action.
“We’ve got to get healthy and we’re not going to unfortunately,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “Our leading tackler was out tonight and we certainly saw the effects of that on the scoreboard, we didn’t play well. We just had a real lack of effort after about the first two series of offense and defense. We do have kids that are out here playing banged up, but I was very disappointed in the effort and I told them that. I hope that we’ll learn within the next two weeks how to give great effort because that’s all I’m looking for is great effort.”
Baldwyn scored 27 seconds into the contest as Laquientez Upshaw ran through the East Union defense and scored from 56 yards out. The kick failed and Baldwyn led 6-0.
The Bearcats added two more rushing touchdowns in the quarter as Marquavious Patterson and Jordan Johnson scored. A turnover really hurt the Urchins as Brison Randolph scooped up the loose football in the East Union backfield and rambled 41 yards for the score and Baldwyn led 27-0 after one quarter.
The Baldwyn offensive fireworks continued in the second quarter as quarterback Jacob Turner connected on touchdown passes to Matthew Gates and Chris Billups within the span of 39 seconds.
Duke Upshaw ran 21 yards for the next score and later returned his interception of an East Union pass 60 yards for the final touchdown of the half. Baldwyn led 54-0 at halftime.
Baldwyn’s final score came on a one yard run by Jalon Clark in the fourth quarter.
Mantachie will be next for East Union on the schedule as the Urchins travel there on Thursday.
“They’re going to be well-coached, they’re going to be prepared and we’re going to get some people back this week,” Duley said. “Lucas Wigington and Jesse Keller will come back and that will help our defense a lot. It is a winnable game, but it’s only a winnable game if we give great effort.”
East Union is now 3-5 (0-3) on the season with two games remaining. East Union could still make the playoffs if they defeat Mantachie and Hatley.

Ingomar swept out of playoffs by Smithville

Gara Beth Self slides home with Ingomar's first run in game two against Smithville. Self doubled and scored on Maggie Smithey's double. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Gara Beth Self slides home with Ingomar’s first run in game two against Smithville. Self doubled and scored on Maggie Smithey’s double. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
INGOMAR – Ingomar saw their first trip to the 1A slow pitch softball playoffs come to an end in the opening round as Smithville took the series 2-0 and eliminated the Lady Falcons. Ingomar lost 11-8 and 14-4 to the Lady Seminoles on Thursday.
Ingomar had 12 hits in game one and 11 hits in game two, but just couldn’t score enough to keep pace with Smithville.
“We had our chances in the first game and a couple of big defensive mistakes probably kept us from winning the first game, I thought,” Ingomar coach Andy Wilbanks said. “Offensively we had bases loaded and hit into a ground ball double play with no outs that hurt offensively. I walked away from game one as as proud as I could be with a loss, I guess. Game two just got away from us pretty quick.”
Smithville jumped in front 3-0 before Ingomar picked up a bat in the first inning. Ingomar came back in the bottom of the inning to close the score to 3-2 as Maggie Smithey walked and Lauren Thompson homered over the left field fence.
Smithville stretched the lead to 6-2 in the top of the third, but Ingomar came back with three runs as Gara Beth Self, Smithey and Thompson scored and the score stood at 7-5 after three.
Smithville added two runs in the fourth and fifth innings to lead 11-5. Ingomar looked to be poised to rally and make the game close as they hit four consecutive singles with no outs. The double play was the friend of Smithville as the Ingomar could only manage two runs to close the score to 11-7.
Ingomar picked up their final run in the seventh as Self tripled and was driven in by Smithey.
Smithville took the first inning lead in game two, going up 2-0. Ingomar came back with three runs in the top of the third and briefly take the lead at 3-2. Ingomar and Smithville switched at-bats in game two with Ingomar batting as the guest and Smithville as home.
However, Smithville scored four runs in the bottom of the third to regain the lead at 6-3.
Ingomar picked up four hits in the fourth, but managed only one run as two fielders choice grounders erased base runners. Smithville came back in the bottom of the inning with five runs and added three more in the fifth to take the game and the series.
“I felt like we were in game two for three innings,” Wilbanks said. “After that, it was pretty ugly. Smithville is a good team, they’re the best team that we’ve played all year. We came here to win and it didn’t happen.”
Ingomar is loaded with underclassmen which shows much promise for the future, but very little playoff experience.
“Erin Wall is probably the only player on the team with playoff experience,” Wilbanks said. “The good thing about it is we won our division and made the playoffs. I’m proud of what they (Ingomar) did this year and there were a lot of positives to take away from this year. You couldn’t ask for any better kids to coach. We’ve just got to grow up a little bit and get better and I think we will.”
Lauren Thompson is greeted by her Lady Falcon teammates following her home run in the first inning of game one. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Lauren Thompson is greeted by her Lady Falcon teammates following her home run in the first inning of game one. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

East Union hosts athletic Baldwyn team on Friday

Jesse Keller and Thomas Moore chase the Walnut quarterback out of the pocket. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jesse Keller and Thomas Moore chase the Walnut quarterback out of the pocket. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union moves from a Walnut opponent with a couple of swift and deceptive skill players to and will host a Baldwyn team that boasts several offensive weapons.
“Baldwyn’s got several young men like Mr. Upshaw (Duke Upshaw, averaging 156.7 all purpose yards per game) and you can’t devote all your resources to him,” East Union coach Scott Duley said. “There’s plenty they can do to make you pay for it if you do devote too much to him. They want to get to the edge, they’re not going to want to run between the tackles.”
Baldwyn comes into the game averaging 247 yards rushing and 122 yards passing.
Leading rushers for the Bearcats are Duke Upshaw with 633 yards on 53 carries for nine touchdowns. Laquintez Upshaw is another threat with 590 yards on 84 carries and six touchdowns.
Jacob Turner, the Baldwyn quarterback, comes in 53-90 passing for 774 yards and seven touchdowns. Turner’s leading target is Matthew Gates with 16 catches for 277 yards and one touchdown.
East Union will counter the Baldwyn offense with linebacker Jesse Keller, who leads the Urchins with 119 tackles and is averaging 17.0 tackles per game. Keller had 24 tackles against Walnut with 18 being solo tackles.
They (Baldwyn) are very athletic and we’ve got to try to put our young men in a position to be able to make those plays, gang tackle and move to the ball well,” Duley said. “We need to try to understand pre-snap what they are about to do.
Baldwyn will feature yet another dangerous return man for the urchin special teams to face after seeing Armani Linton of Walnut last week.
“Nobody wants to kick it to them,” Duley said. “They’ve got quite a bit of speed as well. Walnut and Baldwyn are similar in several ways. Walnut was probably bigger in their line and Baldwyn is probably faster.”
The Baldwyn defense will work out of either a 4-3 or 4-4 scheme according to Duley. The Bearcats will play some zone pass coverage as well as man to man.
“We need to play consistently hard from snap to snap,” Duley said. “Baldwyn is a very talented team and we need to play hard on every play.”

Castillo and Sheffield lead Lady Urchins to series win

Jaley White makes the dirt fly as she slides safely into home on Tuesday. White had two singles in the game. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Jaley White makes the dirt fly as she slides safely into home on Tuesday. White had two singles in the game. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
ELLISTOWN – Tianna Castillo and Rebecca Sheffield pounded out five hits apiece in two games, to lead the East Union Lady Urchins to a first round sweep of Hollandale Simmons on Tuesday.
Sheffield finished the day with a home run, three doubles and a single, driving in 10 runs and scoring seven runs. Castillo had four doubles and a single, seven RBIs and five runs scored.
“You just hope that you can get hot here right now and if you can get hot right now, you’ve got a chance (in playoffs),” East Union coach Josh Blythe said. “The field conditions weren’t great and we were fortunate to get it (series) in. The second game was much cleaner than the first game (for East Union).”
East Union totaled 14 hits in the opening game to win 14-4 in five innings. Callie Frazier had the big blast in the game with her two run homer in the fourth inning.
East Union scored two runs in the first inning, but Hollandale Simmons tied it in the top of the second at 2-2.
East Union scored four runs in the bottom of the second as Kaitie Boatner hit a RBI double and later scored on Sheffield’s two RBI double. Castillo drove in Sheffield to put East Union out to a 6-2 lead.
East Union held a narrow 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the fourth but exploded with seven runs to stretch the lead to 14-4 to take the win.
Claudia Hill, Jaley White and Hannah White joined Sheffield and Castillo in the multiple hits department.
Hannah White and Sheffield had two doubles while Boatner and Sheffield had a double apiece.
Game two saw East Union jump out to a 10-0 lead after one and cruise to a 21-5 win.
Sheffield hit a two run homer to give the Lady Urchins the early 2-0 lead. Claudia Hill blasted a two run home run of her own in the first to extend the East Union lead.
East Union scored 11 runs in the third to seal the win in three innings.
Sheffield, Castillo and Frazier had three hits to lead the Lady Urchins while Hill and Raelee Bell had two hits.
Extra base hits were the homers by Sheffield and Hill, with Castillo (2), Sheffield, Frazier, Bell and Kallie Roberts all collecting doubles.
Sallie Pannell was the winning pitcher in both games. East Union will travel to Mantachie on Saturday to play in the second round of the 2A playoffs.
“We’ve got Mantachie now and I look for that to be a challenge for us,” Blythe said. “We going to go over there and give it our best shot.”