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Union County's Second-Half Explosion Sinks Trojans 46-16

Leading 16-0 at halftime, Union County (6-2 overall, 1-1 district) prevailed 46-16.

The victory gives the Braves second place in the district and the opportunity to host a first-round playoff game in three weeks. Webster dropped to 3-6 overall and 1-2 in district action.

"I thought we played pretty good in spurts. At times, we really competed against a very good team," WCHS head coach Matt Kettler stated.

Union scored on its first possession of the game, a 5-yard touchdown by Aaron Hedgepath, but struggled offensively against the scrappy Trojan squad. If not for a pair of costly turnovers by Webster, the scored could have remained 7-0 at intermission.

"We stopped them several times and played pretty good defense. We just couldn't keep our offense moving," Kettler continued.

The Trojans moved deep into UCHS territory on their second and third possessions but couldn't get the big play needed to sustain the drive. Union scored its second touchdown of the night midway through the second quarter with a seven-play, 87-yard drive capped off 49-yard pass reception from quarterback Kren Rister to Riley Hall. Rister completed the scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown. The PAT was short but the Braves held a 13-0 lead with 8:35 left in the second quarter.

Webster moved to the UCHS 25 yard line on its next drive, thanks to a spectacular catch by senior wide receiver Laken Benson. After a first down run from Clay Putman at the Webster 26, Trojan quarterback Landon Harting fired a missile downfield and Benson along with Union defensive back Conner Wempe soared in the air for the ball. It seemed that Wempe had the clean interception, but by the time the two players and hit the group, Benson and wrestled the ball from the Union County player for a first down at the UCHS 45. Three players later, Harting tossed to Derrick Douglas for a six-yard gainer plus Union was flagged for 'roughing the passer' on the play. That gave the Trojans a first down at the 33. But a WCHS fumble halted the drive.

Webster's defense stood firm on the next Union County possession, forcing their first punt of the night. But on the kick, the ball bounced up and caught Douglas on the shoulder and an alert Union County player jumped on the ball, giving the Braves a first down at the WCHs 40 with just 25 second left in the half.

A 10-yard pass completion plus two Webster penalties pushed the ball to the 6-yard line. With :01 on the clock, Brandon Harper nailed a 23-yard field goal to give the Braves a 16-0 cushion at intermission.

"We played hard even though we made some mistakes and just couldn't get on the scoreboard," Kettler stated. "The last three weeks have kind of been murder's row for us, playing three top 10 teams in the state."

Webster had 95 total yards at halftime while the Braves amassed 218. Those totals remained lopsided in the second half but the Trojans did push across two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Harper added a 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter and then Riley Hall caught a 10-yard TD pass from Rister to make it 26-0 midway through the third quarter.

Union's powerful fullback Aaron Hedgepath then scored his second and third TD's of the night to push the margin to 39-0. Hedgepath rushed for 133 yards while Logan Joiner added 103.

Webster finally got on the scoreboard with 5:36 left in the fourth quarter with a 4-yard TD run from Jamey Kennada, his sixth of the year. The scoring drive was setup with a 51-yard pass play from Harting to Benson. Kennada also added the two-point conversion run.

Joiner answered with a 45-yard touchdown run to up the lead to 46-8. But the Trojans responded with one more touchdown, a 19-yard TD pass from Harting to Benson. J. D. Newton tacked on the two-point conversion run to set the final score.

"There's a lot of positives we can take from this game. We can focus on them this week, get healthy and prepare for our last regular season game and then look forward to the playoffs," Kettler added.

Webster had 257 total yards, 113 rushing and 144 through the air. Kennada paced the attack with 102 yards rushing on 16 carries. Harting was 7-of-20 through the air while Benson had 112 yard receiving on five receptions. Zach Main added 24 yards on two catches.

Union County finished the night with 474 total yards, 266 on the ground and 208 through the air on 9-of-14 accuracy from Rister.

The Trojans will enjoy an open week this Friday before hosting Ballard Memorial on Oct. 29 in the regular season finale at Trojan Stadium.


Posted by Karen Orange - iSurf News

 

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