Union wins Homecoming bout
The Union Yellowjackets did a fine job of celebrating homecoming on Friday night.
Union used a big-play offense and bend-but-not break defense to take a 28-20 win over Choctaw County.
Union improves to 3-2 on the season and will hit the road this week to open Division 5-3A play at Southeast Lauderdale.
Union coach Jordan Wren thought his team played one of its best games of the season against a quality Choctaw County squad.
“It was a big night for us,” Wren said. “We had two class reunions and it was homecoming. There were lots of of people on campus. The challenge all week was we were going to have to play every snap and be disciplined and not turn the ball over and we carried that our pretty well. They were a good football team and have played a tough non-district schedule like us. I thought we did a good job of open-field tackling and are figuring out how to win the close games.”
Union got the ball to start the game and quickly found the end zone on the fourth play from scrimmage as Ky’Yon Harris broke free on a 68-yard run with 9:54 left n the first quarter. Samuel Alanine’s PAT failed and Union took an early 6-0 lead.
Choctaw responded by driving into Union territory and getting to the 24 before Tank Haralson intercepted a pass to end the drive.
After a quick three and out by the Union offense, Choctaw got moving again and drove down to the Union 5 before turning the ball over on downs with a stop from Carlos Hickman.
Union then struck quickly again as Xavier Boler busted a 95-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Harris ran in the two-point conversion and Union led 14-0.
Choctaw again challenged the Union defense as they went 13 plays, getting to the Union 8 before turning the ball over on downs midway through the second quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Union offense, the Chargers went driving again as they went 47 yards in nine plays as K.J. Cork scored on a 5-yard run with 1:43 left in the first half. The PAT was good and Union led 14-7.
Union again hit a big play as U’Darian Hickmon hit Keon Hutchins on a 65-yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds left in the half. Alanine hit the PAT and Union led 21-7.
Choctaw answered with a 54-yard kickoff return to the Union 12 and then scored on the next play with a 12-yard run with 31 seconds left in the first half. The PAT was good and Union led 21-14.
“We had some explosive plays that we haven’t been getting,” Wren said. “We got a big stop and then popped the 95-yard run. Then we went play-action in the last minute and hit Keon (Hutchins) on a deep ball. We took a receiver off the field and added another tight end to try and take some pressure off our young quarterback. On defense, we have a lot of experience and didn’t give up the big play and I thought that was a big key to the game.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Union extended the lead again when Mason Tucker hit Hutchins on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 9:47 left in the game. Alawine’s PAT was good and Union led 28-14.
Choctaw then got another big return of 37 yards and needed just three plays to go 38 yards as Cork hit Kennedy on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 8:30 left in the game. The PAT failed and Union led 28-20.
Union gave the ball right back when Harris fumbled the ensuing kick. Choctaw got as deep as the Union 15 but turned the ball over on downs.
Union then chewed up more than four minutes of clock and Choctaw never got out of their side of the field as the Yellowjackets held on for the win.
Union had 356 yards of total offense in 35 plays. The Yellowjackets were 3-of-6 passing for 87 yards while rushing for 269 yards on 29 carries. Boler had 181 yards rushing on 23 carries while Harris had 80 yards rushing on four carries. Hutchins had 88 yards receiving on two catches with two TDs.
Carlos Hickman and Tank Haralson each had nine tackles apiece while William Hughlett had seven stops. Harris had 6.5 tackles while Vaiden Bouder and Omari Holliday each had five tackles apiece. Cameron Jackson had 3.5 tackles while Collin Rigdon and Hayden Dolan each had two tackles apiece.