Union gets big first win, beats Clinton



Sports Editor - Union Daily Times

They're back!

Union picked up its first win of the season in impressive fashion, beating Clinton 28-7 in the Hall of Fame Game on Friday night at Union County Stadium.
So after starting 0-5 in non-region play, the Yellow Jackets are now 1-0 in Region III-3A.

"Our kids have a lot of confidence in their abilities," said Union coach Tommy Bobbo. "They know that the first five games we played were against some very talented teams. We weren't always pleased with our execution in those games, but we were very pleased with the effort in every game we've been in. Last week, we caught a spark and had something positive happen to us even when it looked as bad as it could be early, but they didn't quit."

Union never quit, even as the losses mounted, they kept working to get better. Bobo was happy to see the players and assistant coaches enjoy the win they've worked so hard for.

"I'm tickled to death for them," he said.

Pip Smith was the hero of the night, scoring three touchdowns - two on passes and one on the ground.

"Pip has been an emotional leader for us," said Bobo. "He sparks it. He's been in the tough battles. He doesn't care whether he's getting the ball or blocking or whatever it takes. That's what we need  and he's providing that for us."

The Jackets were strong out of the gates against Clinton. Jeremy Hughes returned the opening kickoff deep into Clinton territory. That set up a 29-yard touchdown pass from Carmeron Willis to Smith. Union led 6-0.

After an interception, Clinton drove to the Union 1-yard line, but the Jacket defense held.

Union had the Devils stopped again in the second quarter, but gave up two key penalties that prolonged Clinton's drive. The defending region champs capitalized when Anson Cunningham caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Dontavious Glenn. Eli Watts kicked the point-after and Clinton led 7-6.

The Jackets wouldn't be denied on this night, however. LJ Mobley caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Willis and the Jackets led 12-7 at halftime, when great athletes from Union's past were honored.

The third quarter was scoreless and sloppy as both teams accounted for four turnovers, three by Clinton.

After Tishawn Dawkins recovered a fumble late in the period, Union drove 63 yards and Pip Smith caught a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. Dontee Stewart caught a two-point pass and the Jackets led 20-7.

Stewart had dropped a touchdown pass on fourth down the play before, but a Clinton holding penalty gave Union another shot that they cashed in.

Union sealed it with a kiss, a 1-yard touchdown run by Smith. This scoring drive covered 55 yards, much on the legs of Kendrick Neal.

"Tonight they went out there and laid it on the line," said Bobo.

It's homecoming next week, as Union takes on Eastside.

Game notes: Kicker Gregory was injured before the game, forcing Union to go for two points after each score ... Union jerseys had players names on the back. "We feel like they've earned it," said Bobo. "They've stuck together and played as a team. The names are on the back, but they're still playing for the name on the front."

Union 28, Clinton 7
Union    6  6  0  16  -  28
Clinton   0  7  0   0   -  7

First downs: Union 10; Clinton 10
Rushing: Union 94; Clinton 135
Passing: Union 201; Clinton 63
Total: Union 295; Clinton 198
Penalties: Union 11-98; Clinton 12-84
Turnovers: Union 2 (fumble, interception); Clinton 3 (2 fumbles, interception)

Passing: Cameron Willis 10-17-1-201
Rushing: Kendrick Neal 17-67; Kierre Smith 5-21; Pip Smith 3-6
Receiving: LJ Mobley 2-77; Dontee Stewart 3-58; Pip Smith 4-63



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