Jackets back on track

 

Graham Williams - Union Daily Times

CLINTON – Union’s defense converted two fumbles into touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating Clinton, 37-20, Friday night.

The victory puts the Yellow Jackets (1-0, 3-3) atop the Region III 3-A standings as the second half of the season begins and teams battle for playoff position.

Turnovers had plagued Union in its losses to Gaffney, Fairfield Central and York, but the Yellow Jackets took care of the ball against the Red Devils only fumbling once. Clinton, meanwhile, fumbled four times and twice its miscues proved costly.

Clinton had clawed its way back from a 13-0 halftime deficit to take a 14-13 lead on a 67-yard run by Chetyuane Reeder on an option pitch from backup quarterback Corey Wilbanks.

Union then drove 64 yards to Clinton’s 1-yard line, but on first and goal, the Yellow Jackets were penalized for lining up offsides, one of several mental mistakes the team endured. Two plays later, quarterback Steven Brewington’s pass was intercepted by James Copeland on the 1, ending Union’s scoring threat.

Clinton returned the favor, however, coughing up the ball and Zekius Jeter (Brian, check his name, he’s #76) recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. Brewington then found Dontee Stewart for the two-point conversion and Union surged ahead, 21-14.

Union padded its lead on its next possession when David Gregory kicked a 21-yard field goal with 4:17 remaining in the game for a 24-14 margin.

Seconds later, Union’s opportunistic defense scored again, when Jonathan Means scooped up a Reeder fumble and ran 23 yards for a touchdown and a 30-14 Yellow Jacket lead with 4:04 left in the game.

Reeder atoned for his mistake by scoring from 13 yards out to cut the deficit to 30-20 at the 3:30 mark.

Union came right back, marching 53 yards in six plays for another touchdown, as Jeremy Sims scored on a 14-yard run and Sean Paschal’s point-after kick provided the final point of the game.

“The kids played real hard,” Coach Tommy Bobo said afterwards. “We just haven’t been executing. We made a lot of mistakes tonight, but we’re getting better.”

Union started out playing like the team that began the season with wins over Big 16 powers Spartanburg and Gaffney. The Yellow Jackets took the opening kickoff and drove 59 yards in six plays, capped by a 14-yard scoring run by Sims with 9:32 left in the first quarter.

Brewington found Stewart on a 10-yard scoring pass late in the first half on a drive that saw the senior quarterback show no ill effects from an ankle injury that sidelined him the past three games. Brewington completed five of eight pass attempts and finished the game with 13 completions in 21 attempts for 201 yards.

The Yellow Jacket defense dominated Clinton in the first half, limiting the Red Devils to 58 yards rushing and six yards passing.

Union goes on the road again next Friday, traveling to Eastside.

Union 7 6 0 24 – 37

Clinton 0 0 14 6 – 20

U – Sims 14 run (Gregory kick)

U – Stewart 10 pass from Brewington (kick blocked)

 

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