By Jeffery Armstrong
The Union Grove Wolverines and the Tri-Cities Bulldogs will not want to see anything yellow for a long time.
Both teams were penalized for more than 200 yards combined in their 7-7 tie game Friday night at Union Grove. To make matters worse, the referees didn't allow the teams to play any overtime periods because it was a non-region contest.
Tri-Cities had a chance to win the game with seven seconds left in regulation. The Bulldogs tried a 40-yard field goal, but the ball fell short of the goal post as time expired. Both teams went to their respective sidelines expecting overtime, but the referees kept walking out of the stadium, infuriating both teams and the fans.
"All I can say about the officials' decision to leave was that the possibility of overtime wasn't discussed before the game," said a visibly frustrated Wolverines head coach Scott Mason. "The officials said any situation like this between non-region teams has to be discussed early."
No overtime play might have been a blessing in disguise, as neither team could sustain a drive, especially in the second half. Both teams combined for six second-half turnovers and were flagged for several penalties. For the game, Union Grove (1-1-1) was penalized nine times for 75 yards while Tri-Cities (0-1-1) was flagged 17 times for 142 yards.
"The game was out of control in the second half," said Mason. "But I can't fault the effort of my guys. This team whipped us 45-10 last year and we held them to seven this year. It was a great team effort."
The game started off well for both teams. Tri-Cities got on the scoreboard first as senior running back Ramarcus Brown ran around the Union Grove defense 34 yards for a touchdown with 3:52 left in the first quarter. Tri-Cities led 7-0 after the successful PAT. Brown had an outstanding night for the Bulldogs, rushing for 172 yards on 21 carries.
Union Grove answered the Bulldogs' scoring drive with one of their own. Wolverines sophomore quarterback Travis Burks engineered a late first-quarter drive that resulted in the tying touchdown. In that drive, Burks completed a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Tim Waters (who made a nice leaping grab) and Tri-Cities had two consecutive penalties to put Union Grove deep in Bulldog territory. Burks capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge for the touchdown.
Wolverines running back Torre Newsome had a stellar day rushing for the Wolverines, carrying the ball 18 times for 96 yards. On defense, Troy Wood and Justin Pair were all over the field. Wood had several tackles and caused a fumble; Pair also caused a fumble and had big hits in the contest.