Union rolls over Tornadoes in regular season finale
The Philadelphia Tornadoes have had Union’s number in the past three years.
However, this past Friday night , the Yellojackets’ rolled into Harpole Stadium and beat Philly 40-21 on a cold crisp fall night.
“We told our guys all week long that we needed to treat this game like a playoff game,” Coach Jordan Wren said. “This game meant a lot for us and our playoff standings. Our guys responded very well this year.
“I was really proud of the way our offensive line played. And Jaylon Buckley had a great night, He finished with 70 yards on 19 carries. He really did a lot of ground work that we needed to run the clock out,” Wren said.
Union got off to a fast start behind Kenyon Clay, who ran the first kickoff of the game back for 80 yards. Clay rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter to put UHS up 14-0. Clay then threw a 33 yard pass touchdown to Kaleb Casey after a fumble recovery by Raylon Nettles. The lead was extended to 21-0.
The Tornadoes got on the board with a 79-yard pass play with 6:57 to go when Marcus Beamon connected with Trey Posey on a 78-yard TD pass play. Connor Long kicked the extra point and Union led 21-7.
The Jackets responded with a drive that was capped off by Clay’s third rushing touchdown of the game. UHS took a 27-7 lead at halftime.
The defenses would settle in for most of the third quarter, especially the Jackets defensive line. Peyton Posey and a company of Yellowjackets shut down the Tornadoes for most of the period. The strength of the Yellowjacket defensive corp caused the Tornadoes to lose possession of the ball on a few occasions. For example, just when it looked like Philly had something going late in the third, Markus Jones came up with a huge interception at the 18-yard line. Jones, who plays wide receiver for Union made his presence felt on both sides of the ball all night.
The Tornadoes however, were not going away easily as Janaylon Dupree caught a perfectly executed screen pass and took it 87 yards to the house to cut the deficit to 27-14 after three quarters of play. The Tornadoes got the football back quickly after Kenyon Clay muffed a handoff to Jaylon Buckley, setting them up with excellent field position. Philly was forced to go for a first down on a 4th down and three call early in the fourth quarter. Peyton Posey made a huge tackle to give the football back to the road team. UHS marched down the field with Clay and Buckley leading the offense. Buckley scored on a 1 yard rushing touchdown and this extended Union’s lead to 34-14.
The Tornadoes responded with a touchdown drive of their own, but it left only 3:19 to go in the game. The Jackets brain trust decided to run the ball to seal the game and the Jackets were up to the task. Buckley took a 36 yard run all the way to the house to put the nail in the coffin and get a huge victory for Coach Wren and his squad.
Clay completed 7-of-11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, while also carrying the pigskin 21 times for 83 yards and three touchdowns. Buckley led the way for the UHs running backs, tallying 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Markus Jones caught five balls for 72 yards in the win. Peyton Posey was a stonewall for the Jacket defense, tallying 6 solo tackles and a huge tackle for loss late in the game.
The Jackets outgained Philly 367-249 yards and held the Tornadoes to a bleak 15 rushing yards on the night. UHS improves to 7-2 in Coach Wren’s first season, while the Tornadoes fall to 3-6 to end the regular season. With Friday’s road win, the Yellow Jackets will host a first round playoff game with East Marion.
Philadelphia will travel to Collins for their first round playoff game.