Jackets win Region
with 28-0 shutout of Clover


By: Graham Williams
Editor - Union Daily Times

CLOVER - Five weeks ago, many people had given up on Union High School's football team. The Yellow Jackets were winless entering the Region III, 3-A season and had were coming off a heartbreaking one-point lost to York.

The players and coaches never gave up, however, and five weeks later they are celebrating Union's first region championship since 2000. The Yellow Jackets dominated both sides of the ball in their 28-0 victory over Clover Friday night. Union rolled up nearly 400 yards total offense (242 rushing and 152 passing) while holding the Blue Eagles' potent Wing-T offense to just 146 total yards, 137 of them on the ground.

"We wanted it and would not be denied," coach Tommy Bobo said after the game. "All of our coaches did an outstanding job - they deserve the credit for developing these players."

Clover set the tone for the game by fumbling the ball on its second snap from center. Union recovered at its own 35-yard line and quickly went to work. Quarterback Cameron Willis found Travis Sims on a 24-yard pass play, then connected with L.J. Mobley for a dozen more yards to the Clover 29. Three plays later, Willis kept the ball on an option play and ran 13 yards for the first of his three touchdowns.

The Blue Eagles turned the ball over five more times (two fumbles and three interceptions) before the night was over, resulting in two more Union touchdowns.

Early in the second quarter, Clover quarterback Cort Hall made a rare pass attempt in the shadow of the Blue Eagles' goal post, which was intercepted by Billy Jennings and returned to Clover's 27-yard line. Three plays later, Willis faked a handoff to fullback Troy Epps and trotted into the end zone. David Gregory's extra point kick gave Union a 14-0 lead with 9:40 remaining in the first half.

Late in the period, another Clover fumble gave Union possession of the ball at the Blue Eagles' 23-yard line. It took the Yellow Jackets just five plays to score, with Willis calling his own number from three yards out for a 21-0 Union lead.

Last year, Union lead the Blue Eagles at halftime, but Clover converted three onside kicks into scores and won the game. This time, the Yellow Jackets were ready and waiting, but Clover kicked the ball deep to open the second half and let its defense stop Union.

The Yellow Jackets apparently didn't get the message, as they quickly marched 83 yards in less than three minutes to put the game out of reach. Along the way, Willis hit Sims for 19 yards and Kendrick Neal ran for 12 of his game-high 102 yards. Fred Bates finished off the drive by darting 31 yards through the Clover defense for the touchdown and a 28-0 Union lead.

Forced to play catchup, Clover went to the air again, and Jennings got his second interception on a halfback pass attempt to end a Blue Eagle scoring threat at Union's 15-yard line.

In the fourth quarter, Clover got its offense in gear, moving from its own 19-yard line to the Yellow Jackets' 15 on 13 consecutive running plays. On fourth down, however, Hall's pass attempt was picked off by Geromey Jeter and the Union crowd began sensing a victory.

With the win, Union, 4-1 in the region and 4-6 overall, secures home field advantage for the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets' first opponent will likely be Travelers Rest.

Union -  7  14  7  0  - 28
Clover - 0    0  0  0  -  0

First downs: Union 21, Clover 12
Yards rushing: Union 242, Clover 137
Yards passing: Union 152, Clover 9
Passing, A-C-I: Union 9-15-0, Clover 1-13-3
Fumbles-lost: Union 1-1, Clover 4-3
Penalties: Union 7-40, Clover 8-68
Punts: Union 2-26.5, Clover 2-38

Individual statistics
Rushing: Neal (U) 20-108, Willis (U) 11-47, Bates (U) 2-32, Smityh (U) 4-19. Boyd (C) 18-73, Lowery (C) 7-37, Salerno (C) 10-25, Hall (C) 6-28),
Passing: Willis (U) 9-15-0, 152 yards. Hall (C) 1-12-2, 9 yards.
Receiving: Sims (U) 4-103, Mobley (U) 2-26.


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