Jackets stay alive with 24-6 win


Sports Editor - Union Daily Times

SPARTANBURG - Union has a chance to defend its Class AAA state championship.

Union defeated Broome 24-6 on Halloween night to clinch a playoff berth. Greer defeated Clinton 7-6 for the Region III-AAA championship, which gave Union second place in the conference.

Union will open its playoff run at home against J.L. Mann next Friday.

"We're there and we're ready to go now," said Union coach Mike Anthony. "I think our kids played with intensity and a purpose. They played hard against a good bunch."

The Yellow Jacket defense rose to the occasion, holding Broome to just 163 yards total offense, 63 yards on the ground.

"They stopped a lot of people in the middle there," said Anthony. "We wanted to prove to them that we could play smash mouth football."

Union's offense racked up 344 yards, 242 yards on the ground. Justin Knox passed and Eirish Stevens rushed for more than 100 yards.

Union jumped on top with a 10-yard touchdown run by Tyrone Chick, capping a 10 play, 75-yard drive. Catches of 40 and 12 yards by Chick and a fourth down pass interference call on Broome set up the score. Nick Maness' PAT was good.

Jeremy Littlejohn intercepted Broome quarterback Josh Hodge, his first of two picks on the night. The Yellow Jackets scored on a 30-yard run by Knox. Maness' PAT punctuated Union's second score in 60 seconds.

Union scored again in the second quarter, going 52 yards in eight plays. Pip Smith caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Knox. The running of Stevens and Knox set up the score. Maness' PAT was good for the 21-0 halftime lead.

Late in the first half, Broome had a golden opportunity to score after a roughing the kicker penalty on Union. But the Jacket defense held Broome, just inches from the goal line, on downs.

Union opened the second half with a drive that ate up seven minutes of clock, covering 80 yards in 12 plays. A 24-yard C.J. Lott reception and Stevens running set up a 27-yard Maness field goal.

Broome's Scottie Armstrong recovered a Knox fumble and D.J. Moore found Shannon Shippy on a 59-yard touchdown pass for the Centurions only points.

Another long, clock eating drive by the Jackets ate up the rest of the clock.

The impressive win puts Union back in its element, playoff football in November.

"Our kids haven't played to their potential for several weeks, but we want them to realize that November is here and it's time to play now," said Anthony. "We've got a fresh start and a new season."

Unofficial team stats
First downs: Union 16; Broome 5
Turnovers: Union 1; Broome 2
Penalties: Union 8-60; Broome 5-40
Rushing: Union 245; Broome 63
Passing: Union 101; Broome 100
Total offense: Union 346; Broome 163
Unofficial individual stats
Passing: UNION - Knox 7-17-101. BROOME - Hodge 1-2-5, Moore 3-8-95
Rushing: UNION - Stevens 20-112, Sims 10-46, Knox 15-72, Chick 2-13. BROOME - Petty 9-34, Hodge 3-(-2), Moore 5-22, Brannon 6-8.
Receiving: UNION - Lott 1-22, Chick 4-62, Stewart 1-5, Smith 1-12. BROOME - Shippy 2-64, Petty 1-28, Hodge 1-8.

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