Jackets not done yet!
By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times
Whew! What a game.
Union came from behind to defeat Daniel 44-41 in a barnburner on Friday night.
David Gregory kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1:47 remaining and Tishawn Dawkins intercepted a Daniel pass with 30 seconds remaining as the Yellow Jackets overcame a 21-point second quarter deficit to advance in the Class 3A playoffs.
"We talked to them at halftime about character," said Union coach Tommy Bobo. "We thought they had a lot of character and they showed it."
"It's like everything is always difficult with this team, but they regrouped at halftime and made it a point that they were not going to end tonight."
A big part of the win was one of the biggest Jackets - Troy Epps. A defensive lineman at 6-1, 267 pounds, Epps accounted for 142 yards total offense.
He simply would not be denied, dragging the Daniel defense down the field on a 69-yard run in the fourth quarter that helped set up an 8-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cameron Willis to give Union a 41-34 lead.
"Before we left the school, Troy Epps said, "It will not end tonight" with tears in his eyes and after the game he had tears in his eyes," said Bobo.
"I love to see a big boy like that cry."
Before the Willis touchdown, Daniel's Brian Watson ran 71 yards to score and tie the game at 34. After the Union touchdown, Watson ran 39 yards for another score to tie the game again at 41.
That set up the final drama of the final seconds. But the whole game couldn't have been scripted any better.
Union (6-6) got on the board first with a 13-yard Kendrick Neal run.
Daniel answered quickly when Doug Moore returned the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
Daniel's Dominique Jenkins intercepted a Willis ball and then the Lions' star running back Chris McIntosh did the rest with a 96-yard touchdown run.
Daniel led 13-6 after one quarter.
After a bad Union kick, the Lions (7-5) were at it again. Quarterback Jerome Williams scored on a 1-yard sneak.
McIntosh then struck again on a 68-yard touchdown run. Daniel led 27-6.
Union answered with a 4-yard Epps scoring run and trailed 27-13 at halftime.
The momentum swung in the Jackets favor in the third quarter.
Rodrick Gilmore caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Willis after a Daniel fumble.
The Lions again coughed the ball up and Willis ran 23 yards to score.
Gregory's point-after tied the game at 27.
Daniel again fumbled and Union took the lead when LJ Mobley caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Willis.
Union entered the final period with a 34-27 lead. That set up the final round of scores that led to the big Jacket win.
"I can't say enough about this team," said Bobo. "All our coaches coach as hard as they can go, as long as they can go. And look at these kids, that's what it's all about. Congratulations to all of them."
A big part of the win was Union's ability to contain McIntosh in the second half. He was held to just 15 yards.
"I'm glad coach (Mike) Hawkins is on my side," said Bobo.
Next up for Union - Greenville (10-2), a 45-42 winner over Camden.
"We'll take it one game at a time," said Bobo. "We're one of four teams left" (in the Upstate).
"We've got home field (advantage). Our fans feed off our kids and our kids feed off our fans."
Union 44, Daniel 41
Union 6 7 21 10 - 44
Daniel 13 14 0 14 - 41
U - Kendrick Neal 13 run (David Gregory kick failed)
D - Doug Moore 97-yard kickoff return (Stuart Schiff kick failed)
D - Chris McIntosh 96-yard run (Schiff kick)
D - Jerome Williams 1-yard run (Schiff kick)
D - Chris McIntosh 68-yard run (Schiff kick)
U - Troy Epps 4-yard run (Gregory kick)
U - Rodrick Gilmore 13-yard pass from Cameron Willis (Gregory kick)
U - Willis run (Gregory kick)
U - LJ Mobley 13-yard pass from Willis (Gregory kick)
D - Brian Watson 71-yard run (Schiff kick)
U - Willis 8-yard run (Gregory kick)
D - Watson 39-yard run (Schiff kick)
U - Gregory 32-yard field goal
First downs: Union 16, Daniel 6
Passing: Union 178; Daniel 11
Rushing: Union 279; Daniel 330
Total offense: Union 457; Daniel 341
Penalties: Union 3-33; Daniel 5-37
Turnovers: Union (interception); Daniel (three fumbles, an interception)
Rushing: Union - Kendrick Neal 18-77; Cameron Willis 13-86; Troy Epps 7-112.
Daniel - Chris McIntosh 21-221; Brian Watson 11-106; Jerome Williams 8-3
Receiving: Union - LJ Mobley 5-63; Rodrick Gilmore 3-45; Troy Epps 4-30; Jarvis Griffin 2-20; Travis Sims 2-20
Passing: Union - Cameron Willis 16-24-178; Daniel
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