Converting miscues into points

 

By GRAHAM WILLIAMS
Managing Editor - Union Daily Times

SPARTANBURG - Converting miscues into points, Union defeated Spartanburg 14-7 Friday night to give Tommy Bobo his first win as the Yellow Jackets' new head football coach.

"The kids wanted it and did everything they could to win it," he said afterwards, as he accepted congratulations from well-wishers. "We were very fortunate on a couple of mistakes."

Cramps and minor injuries forced the Yellow Jackets to alter their game plan, especially late in the game.

"In the fourth quarter we had a lot of players out of position. but they challenged themselves," Bobo said. "When we got into the red zone we wanted to use two tight ends, but Jamar (Porter) and (Pip) Smith were hurt. Our kids picked it up, though."

After a scoreless first quarter, a questionable fumble call seemed to fire up the Yellow Jacket defense. First, Jonathan Means broke up a second-down pass from Viking quarterback Nick Prochak. On the next play, Kennedy Rogers stepped up and intercepted a Prochak pass, giving Union possession on its own 45.

Four plays later, sophomore quarterback Cameron Willis found Donte Stewart with a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. Stewart stretched out for the ball, catching it as he fell to the ground. The point-after attempt was blocked, but Union held a 6-0 advantage with 8:40 left in the first half. Stewart finished the night with six catches for 86 yards.

Willis had an exciting debut at quarterback, completing 8 of 10 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The Union coaches had planned to alternate Willis and senior Steven Brewington, letting each one play two series before rotating them. "Unfortunately for Steven, his second series began near the goal line and Cameron got rolling so we stayed with him," Bobo said, adding that both would see action next week against Dorman.

Union seized control of the game early in the second half when the Yellow Jackets forced Spartanburg to punt. A low snap from center sent the ball rolling on the ground and by the time he reached for it he was swarmed by Union defenders. Porter spotted the loose ball, scooped it up and raced 26 yards to the end zone.

"I saw it on the ground and I had to get it before they did," Porter said of his teammates.

Union squandered another scoring opportunity after Preston Beaty picked off a Prochak pass and returned it to the Vikings' 14-yard line. Three plays netted only six yards and on fourth down, David Gregory's 15-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

A 27-yard scoring run by Roderick Robinson cut the Union lead in half with 5:07 remaining in the game, causing some uneasiness on the Yellow Jacket sideline.

"I was worried until the last snap," Bobo said.

Union returns home Friday to face its second straight Big 16 opponent when Dorman visits the Union County Stadium.

Union             0  6  8  0 - 14
Spartanburg  0  0  0  7 - 7

First downs - Union 10, Spartanburg 9
Yards rushing - Union 62, Spartanburg 238
Yards passing - Union 100, Spartanburg 22
Passing, A-C-I - Union 10-12-0, Spartanburg 4-12-2
Penalties - Union 3-15, Spartanburg 8-74

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