Union playoffs begin on the road

Union playoffs begin on the road


The Union Yellow Jackets closed out their regular 2021 season Friday night with a 25-14 loss to the Morton Tigers.

The game was an important Region 5-3A contest. With the win, Morton clinched the opportunity to host a home playoff game Friday against St. Stanislaus. With the loss, Union will have to go on the road for a playoff game at West Marion.

The supporters for both teams endured a cold, misty rain as they watched the two teams battle. 

The game began with defensive success for both teams. With 5:27 to go in the first quarter, the Panthers struck on a 42-yard pass play. The 2-point conversion was unsuccessful and Morton led 6-0.

Union got on the scoreboard in the second quarter with 7:11 left in the second quarter.

The second quarter began with more defensive prowess by both teams. Eli Rigdon recovered a fumble at the 46-yard line of the Panthers. The Jackets put together a drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Kenyon Clay. Eli Jenkins kicked the extra point and the Jackets led 7-6.

After forcing a Morton punt, Union got the ball back with 1:46 left in the first half. The Jackets were led on this drive by Clay who ran for 64 yards. The ball was placed at the 4-yard line of Morton. With two seconds left in the first half, Coach Jordan Wren pulled a rabbit out of his hat.

Ky’Yon Harris tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kenyon Clay as time expired for the first half.

Jenkins kicked another successful PAT. The score at halftime was Union leading 14-6.

The second half began with Union receiving the second-half kickoff. The Morton defense intercepted a Clay pass and returned it to Union’s 12-yard line. However, the Jacket defensive unit stood tall in the red zone and forced a turnover on downs. The defensive strength of both teams resulted in neither scoring during the third quarter.

The final quarter began with a three and out by the Jackets. The Panthers received the punt and marched down the field to pay dirt. Morton running back Robert Jennings rushed for a 7-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was thwarted by the Jackets. Union still had the lead by a score of 14-12 with 7:03 left in the game.

With the opportunity to host a playoff game, the pressure mounted for both teams. At the 6:04 mark in the fourth quarter, the Panthers forced a fumble at the Jackets 30-yard line. Morton’s featured running back, Robert Jennings once again reached the land of milk and honey. He ran 22 yards for a touchdown. The Jackets once again stopped the 2-point conversion. Morton had now taken an 18-14 lead in the game with 5:24 left to play.

The Jackets received the kickoff after the Panther touchdown. Union was unsuccessful in moving down the field. With 28 seconds left Morton delivered the last blow against Union. The Panthers Quarterback Madden Gerald threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Tony Boyd. The PAT was good and the horn sounded. The final score was Morton 25 Union 14.

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