York downs Yellow Jackets

Sports Editor - Union Daily Times

The game was ugly.

And it was mostly ugly for Union. Referees threw more than 20 flags, 13 of them on Union for 99 yards, and the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over four times in a 28-13 loss to York in the Hall of Fame Game on Friday night at Union County Stadium.

"We can't put our thumb on it," said Union coach Tommy Bobo, after a third straight loss. "In the first half, we felt like we had two or three good drives, but we had penalties or turnovers - things just ain't going our way right now. We've got to find out what is going to make us click. We're struggling."

All the penalty flags, York was called eight times for 52 yards, only prolonged a game hard to watch for Yellow Jacket fans, as the Cougars dominated.

Things started bad for Union. The offense was moving the ball well on its first drive, but quarterback Cameron Willis fumbled a high snap and York recovered. The Cougars capitalized on the turnover with a 35-yard field goal by Spencer Laning.
David Gregory shanked a punt under heavy pressure on the Jackets' next possession and York's Kent Harper scored on a 5-yard run.

In the second quarter, Andy McCarter intercepted a Willis pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. Jeremy Sims fumbled the kickoff and York had good field position again, but things seemed to turn for the Jackets when Laning missed another 35-yard field goal attempt.

Union put together one of its most impressive drives of the season, going 80 yards in 15 plays, mostly on the legs of Kendrick Neal. Pip Smith punched the ball in from 1-yard out and the Jackets were back in the game, trailing just 17-7 at the half.
But York continued to pour it on in the second half. Dominique Burris scored two touchdowns - 6 yards and 3 yards. Warren Matthews intercepted a Union pass and took it 58 yards for a score.

Late in the game, Union's L.J. Dye returned a kickoff 83 yards to set up a 17-yard touchdown run by JV quarterback Rodrick Gilmore.

Union's defense was again on the field most of the night. They came up with two fumble recoveries in the second half, but the offense gave the ball right back with the Matthews' interception and a stalled drive.

"It's a team effort," said Bobo. "If one aspect is not playing well, the other has to pick up. We just cant quite get it going."

The loss is the first ever Hall of Fame Game setback for Union. The school honored 16 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees at halftime.

Union hasn't lost three straight games since 1997, when it dropped six straight. But the Jackets were able to turn things around that year, advancing to the upperstate title game.

Union (2-3) looks to begin another turnaround on Friday, traveling to Clinton for the start of region play.

York 38, Union 13
Union   0    7    0   6   -   13
York    10   7   14   7   -  38

Overall stats
First downs: Union 14; York 13
Turnovers: Union 4; York 2
Penalties: Union 13-99; York 8-52
Passing: Union 122 yards; York 18
Rushing: Union 126 yards; York 146
Individual stats
Passing: Union (Willis) 16-24-122; York (Boyd) 1-5-18
Rushing: Union - Sims 7-35, Neal 10-55, Willis 9-4, Smith 4-12, Means 1-5, Gilmore 2-6, Broadus 1-9; York - McClure 23-125, Burris 13-10, Boyd 2-0, Rhodes 1-12, Leary 1-(-1).
Receiving: Union - Glenn 4-28, Dye 1-2, Callahan 1-11, Smith 2-25, Stewart 4-25, Sims 1-8, Means 1-14, Neal 2-9;
York - Harper 1-18.

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