Jackets fall to Newberry 14-12
By GRAHAM WILLIAMS
Managing editor - Union Daily Times
Mistakes in the kicking game proved costly for Union Friday night as the Yellow Jackets fell to Newberry, 14-12, at the Union County Stadium.
For the second year in a row Union has to find a way to bounce back from a tough loss at the hands of the Bulldogs. Last year, the Yellow Jackets won the rest of their region games en route to the 3-A state championship.
A blocked field goal and a missed extra point forced Union to attempt a two-point conversion to tie the game and possibly force overtime. Trailing 14-6 with less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Yellow Jackets got a big boost when Marcus Glenn intercepted Ben Pratt's third down pass at Union's 41-yard line.
Two completions to C.J. Lott and Tyrone Chick moved the ball to the Newberry 35, where on fourth and one, quarterback Justin Knox kept the ball for the first down. But the Bulldogs were penalized 15 yards for having 12 men on the field and Union got a first down on the Newberry 20.
Knox ran 13 yards to the Bulldogs' 7 and on second down hit Kendrick Lyles in the front of the end zone for the touchdown with 1:23 left in the game.
On the extra-point try, Knox rolled to his left and found Lott near the goal line, but the Bulldog defense forced him out of bounds at the 1-yard line, spoiling Union's comeback hopes.
Newberry recovered Union's ensuing onside kick attempt and ran out the clock for the win.
"For some reason they have our number," a disappointed coach Mike Anthony said after the game. "You have to tip your hat to them. These kids came to really play."
Ignoring a misty rain, a fired-up Newberry team took the opening kickoff and marched 60 yards to the Yellow Jackets' 10-yard line before penalties and an incomplete pass forced the Bulldogs to attempt a 37-yard field goal. The ball was tipped and rolled dead at the 2-yard line. A quick thinking Lyles scooped up the ball and dashed 63 yards to the Newberry 36, giving Union excellent field position.
The Bulldogs' defense stiffened, however, and Union attempted a 20-yard field goal which was blocked.
Known for its power running game, Newberry fooled Union's defense on its next possession and went to the air, as Pratt completed passes of 32, 13 and 24, the last one a scoring toss to Laron Boyd with 11:14 left in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead.
"Our corners got turned around," Anthony said. "We didn't think they'd throw hardly at all."
A Lyles interception gave Union great field position at the Bulldogs' 34-yard line late in the third quarter, but on first down, Knox's pass attempt was picked off by Boyd. A 15-yard facemask penalty moved the ball to the 48-yard line and from there Newberry marched downfield behind Hal Clary and Antonio Smith. On second down at Union's 25-yard line, Pratt hit Boyd on a crossing route and the speedy receiver sailed into the end zone for a 14-0 Bulldog lead with just 22 seconds left in the period.
Lyles came through for Union again in the fourth quarter, returning a punt to Newberry's 11-yard line, but this time the Yellow Jackets took advantage of it. On third down, Knox hooked up with Dontee' Stewart for a 13-yard scoring strike to cut the Bulldog lead to 14-6 with 8:09 remaining in the game. Nick Maness' extra point was wide, however, forcing Union into the two-point conversion attempt in the final minutes.
"I saw a lot of good things in that last drive," Anthony said of his team. "Our kids will bounce back. I think these guys will come back and play hard next week."
Union, 1-1 in the region and 4-2 overall, travels to Riverside next week.
First downs: Union 12, Newberry 14
Yards rushing: Union 167, Newberry 162
Yards passing: Union 92, Newberry 134
Passing, A-C-I: Union 11-24-3, Newberry 7-15-2
Penalties: Union 4-30, Newberry 10-76.
Rushing (Union) Knox 12-118, Stevens 23-49. (Newberry) Clary 20-88, Clark 12-66.
Passing (Union) Knox 11-14-3, 93 yards. (Newberry) Pratt 7-15-2 134 yards
Receiving (Union) Lott 3-40, Stewart 2-22, Chick 2-13, Dye 2-11, Lyles 1-6. (Newberry) Clary 2-36, Boyd 3-81.
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