The Union Yellowjackets flexed their muscle last week against visiting Eupora.

Union scored early and often in the first half as rolled to a 42-9 win over visiting Eupora on Friday night.

Union improves to 3-0 on the season and will host rival Newton County on Friday night.

While it was a blowout win for the Yellowjackets coming off a bye week, Union coach Brad Breland saw plenty of areas for improvement from his team.

“We did some good things but we weren’t very crisp at all,” Breland said. “I was disappointed in our execution. Our guys are juniors and seniors and their guys were a lot younger. We were a little more talented than they were. We just didn’t execute anything like we needed to. We made too many mistakes on both sides of the football.”

Union struck first as Colby Ferguson scored on a seven-yard run with 9:21 left in the first quarter. Henry Thornton booted the PAT and Union led 7-0.

The Eagles responded with their best drive of the game and found the end zone. Cade Adkins hit Daniel Brown on a six-yard touchdown pass with 6:14 left in the first quarter. Kimble Dillinger’s PAT was blocked and Union led 7-6.

From there, it was all Union as the Yellowjackets scored 35 points in the remainder of the first half 

Union got back in the end zone as Ferguson hit Markus Jones o a big 47-yard touchdown pass with 5:35 left in the first. Thornton’s PAT failed and Union led 13-6.

The Union defense then got in on the action as Kenyon Clay intercepted an Atkins pass and returned it for a touchdown. Ferguson ran in the two-point conversion and Union led 21-6.

Eupora responded with a good drive as they got deep in Union territory but had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Dillinger to cut the score to 21-9.

Union tacked on three more scores in the second quarter. The first came with 9:16 left in the first half as Ferguson hit Markus Jones on a 19-yard touchdown pass. Thornton booted the PAT and Unit led 28-9.

“I thought Markus had his best game so far,” Breland said. “He had some good catches and made some big runs after the catch. He broke several tackles on that long touchdown play. Mark had a good week of practice and it carried over to Friday night. He played really well. He also played really well on defense”

After forcing a Eupora punt, Union got going again as Jaylon Buckley scored on a five-yard run with 4:24 left in the half. Thornton’s PAT was good and Union led 35-9.

Union added another score late as Ferguson scored on a 3-yard run with 1:07 left in the half for the final margin of 42-9.

“The line played hard but we had a big size advantage as well,” Breland said. “But we didn’t always block the right guy or at the right angle. They played hard, I just expect a lot out of them. We just didn’t do the stuff that we should be doing at this point in the season.”

Union outgained Eupora 312-188 yards despite running four fewer plays. Union had 191 yards rushing and 121 passing. Ferguson was 5-of-8 passing for 121 yards and two TDS while he rushed for 56 yards on 10 plays. Buckley had his best game rushing with 97 yards on 14 plays. Jones had three catches for 101 yards receiving. Clay also had an interception on defense for Union.

Eupora had 188 yards of total offense with 109 passing and 79 rushing. Atkins was 6-of-12 passing for 109 yards while Travon McMillian had 37 yards on nine carries. 

This week’s game

Union will put its unbeaten streak on the line when the Yellowjackets host Class 4A Newton County. 

The Cougars are 3-1 on the season and their only loss is a 14-13 setback to Kosciusko. They have wins over Leake Central (35-14), Morton (43-7) and Southeast Lauderdale (31-10).

Breland had nothing but praise for the Cougars, who won just two games last year.

“They have come a long way since last year,” Breland said. “Bobby (Bass) and those guys have done a good job of getting the kids out and they are playing hard and competing. That’s 90 percent of it right there.”

This is the fifth straight year the two teams have played and the visiting team has won in each of those last four contests. Last year, Union scored late to stun Newton County 41-38.