Gaffney intercepts Union's chance at 3-0 start

 

By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times

Union quarterbacks threw seven interceptions, handing Gaffney a 24-10 win on Friday night at Union County Stadium.

Cameron Willis threw five interceptions and Steven Brewington two. Gaffney's Jeffrey Galmer intercepted three balls, Cameron Tate, Bryce Smiley, Andy Strickland and Julius Wilkerson each had picks for the Indians.

"We missed a lot of opportunities to do something positive and part of that reason was Gaffney," said Union coach Tommy Bobo. "I donšt feel we blocked them very well all night long."

Gaffney, the defending Big 16 champions, came out with a vengeance after dropping their opening two ball games.

"We knew coming in that Gaffney was very talented, as physical and talented as anybody we've played," said Bobo. "We knew they were going to get it going and we were hoping that it wasn't going to be against us, but unfortunately the plays other teams were not making against us were made by them.

"They are a very good team, very well coached. They played hard and were hungry."

Union's opening drive was a foreshadowing of things to come. Galmer intercepted Brewington and quarterback Nick Melton scored on a 12-yard touchdown option run, diving at the end. Justin Harris' extra point gave the Indians a 7-0 lead.

After a Yellow Jacket punt, Gaffney again scored. Strickland caught passes of 45 and 12 yards, and Donald Sims a 15-yarder from Melton to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Trevon Green. Harris' PAT gave Gaffney a 14-0 lead. Union appeared to get going when Willis found L.J. Dye on a 67-yard pass play, but Tate's interception killed the drive.

Preston Beaty intercepted a Gaffney pass and appeared to score, but a chop block call on the Jackets nullified the touchdown. Union had to settle for a 28-yard David Gregory field goal.

A couple good pass plays set up Gaffney's next score, a 37-yard Harris field goal, giving the Indian's a 17-3 halftime lead. But the half wouldn't end without Galmer hauling in another interception.

In the second half, Troy Epps recovered a Gaffney fumble and appeared to give the Jackets life. But Smiley's interception killed that drive.

Union got it right back though, with Casey Wilson recovering a Gaffney fumble. This time the Jackets capitalized, as Dontee Stewart caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Willis. Gregory's extra point pulled Union within a touchdown, 17-10.

But Gaffney answered. Sims caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Melton, Harris added the PAT and the Indians had their final margin of victory.

Union still had its chances, but squandered them with Strickland, Galmer and Wilkerson interceptions killing drives.

Travis Norris recovered another Gaffney fumble near the end of the game. Union had the ball on Gaffney's 2-yard line with seconds left, but the Indian defense held, adding insult to injury.

Union (2-1) travels to Fairfield Central next Friday. Gaffney (1-2) travels to Boiling Springs.

"We're still a young football team, as far as game experience," said Bobo.

"We're going to get better this week and hopefully that will carry over to Friday night.

Gaffney 24, Union 10
Union       0   3  7  0  -  10
Gaffney  14  3  7  0  -  24

Stats:
First downs: Union 12; Gaffney 18
Turnovers: Union 7; Gaffney 4
Penalties: Union 5-55; Gaffney 10-86
Rushing: Union 58; Gaffney  119
Passing: Union 219; Gaffney 215
Total offense: Union 277; Gaffney 334

Individual Stats:
Passing:
Union: Brewington 2-9-27; Willis 8-14-188
Gaffney: Melton 11-19-134; Long 1-1-9.
Rushing:
Union: Sims 9-6; Neal 2-5; Smith 3-6; Brewington 2-(-14); Willis 10-36; Dye 1-9; Broadus 1-8
Gaffney: Tate 8-31; Melton 10-37; Long 2-5; M. Green 2-8; T. Green 2-43.
Receiving:
Union: Stewart 3-55; Sims 1-23; Glenn 3-35; Dye 2-81; Means 1-14
Gaffney: Sims 7-123; Strickland 4-83; Smith 1-9