Union’s Jaylon Buckley runs for some positive yards against Nanih Waiya on Friday night.
Union’s Jaylon Buckley runs for some positive yards against Nanih Waiya on Friday night.
The last two years, Union football coach Brad Breland said his team was “embarrassed” at the hands of Nanih Waiya.

The Yellowjackets got a small measure of revenge last week as they handed the Warriors their second straight loss with a 35-24 setback on Friday night.

Union improves to 2-0 on the season while Nanih Waiya falls to 0-2.

Breland said he was proud to get the win against the defending champions.

“It was a good win, especially after the last two years,” Breland said. “They have  a really good football team. I really felt like we should have been up a lot more in the first half. And then we gave up some big plays and missed some big opportunities on offense that would have put us up more and might have put the game away.”

Each team scored three touchdowns in the first half and the difference in the score was a trio of extra points from Union’s Henry Thornton.

Union struck first as Colby Ferguson scored on a five-yard run with 6:42 left in the first quarter. Thornton booted the PAT and Union led 7-0.

Nanih Waiya answered right back as Donovan Turner hit Shia Moore on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 3:54 left in the first. The try for two by Blake Young failed and Union held a slim 7-6 lead.

Union had a quick answer as Kenyon Clay found the end zone on a 48-yard touchdown run with 2:03 left in the first. Thornton’s PAT gave Union a 14-6 lead.

Just two minutes later, Nanih Waiya hit another big pass play at Turner hit Tylan Glass on a 75-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds still left in the first. Turner’s try for two failed and Nanih Waiya cut the lead to 14-12.

Union answered again as Jaylon Buckley got free on a 47-yard touchdown run with 10:53 left in the first half. Thornton’s PAT gave Union a 21-12 lead.

Each team settled down on defense and Nanih Waiya cut the lead to three when Turner scored on a seven-yard run with 3:44 left in the first half. The try for two failed and Union led 21-18 at the half.

“I thought we had a good game plan,” Breland said. “Colby made some good throws and played well. I was pleased that we didn’t have any fumbles. I was pleased that we covered the ball up well. We did a lot of little things well. We didn’t have any turnovers and that’s important in a back-and-fourth game like that.”

After a scoreless third quarter, the game heated up late in the fourth. Nanih Waiya took the lead as Turner scored on a three-yard run with 3:45 left in the game. The try for two failed and the Warriors led 24-21. 

But Union bounced back. Ferguson hit Jamarian Harmon on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 left in the game. Thornton’s PAT gave Union a 28-24 lead.

“It was really a tale of two halves for us,” Breland said. “I was pleased with the offense in the first half and with the defense in the second half. There was a lot of excitement when they took the lead in the fourth. One thing, our guys never quit. We executed our two-minute offense really well and that’s good to see. We actually had a miscue on that touchdown but Jamarian was hustling across the field and made a really good play on the ball. 

Union added a late score with 23 seconds left as Ferguson scored on a 39-yard scamper.

Union had 365 yards of total offense to 244 for Nanih Waiya. Union rushed for 272 yards and threw for 93. Ferguson was 8-of-15 passing for 80 yard sand rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries with two TDs. Buckley ran for 81 yards on 10 carries while Clay ran for 81 yards on seven carries. Harmon had two catches for 50 yards while Markus Jones had three catches for 17 yards. Clay had two catches for 17 yards while Buckley hd two catches for 9 yards. 

Clay led the Union defense with seven tackles. Carlos Hickman had four tackles with an interception while Raylon Nettles had six tackles and two for a loss.

This week’s game

The Yellowjackets are off this week with an open date.

“I’m fine with it,” Breland said. “I would rather be playing than sitting at home. But we have some things as a staff that we are going to focus on this week. We are going to go out there and improve where we are weakest at right now. It’s good to focus on us and not somebody else right now.”

Union will come back from the open date and host Eupora on Sept. 13.