Riverside upsets Union

Sports Editor - Union Daily Times

GREER - Dustin Gourdin returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown with 1:47 remaining to give Riverside a 20-16 upset win over Union on Friday night. Union had just taken the lead on a 23-yard David Gregory field goal with 2:01 remaining. But a breakdown on special teams allowed Gourdin to go the distance giving the Warriors one of their biggest wins in the program's history.

"Riverside came out and played; we had opportunities and didn't take advantage," said Union coach Tommy Bobo. "I feel like we stopped ourselves a number of times and you can't do that against anybody."

Union had one last chance after the kickoff return. The Jackets started at their own 20-yard line and a pass interference call extended the drive that ended at midfield with an incompletion on fourth down. Riverside finished things off with a knee.

"They've got a good quarterback, runningback and receivers - Riverside's a good team," said Bobo. "I wish them luck, I just wish they hadn't got this win against us."

Things started well for the Jackets. Pip Smith scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to cap an 84-yard, clock-eating drive.

The second quarter was all Richard Jackson. Riverside's kicker has already verbally committed to Clemson. He showed why the Tigers want him - kicking field goals of 48 yards and 63 yards.

The 63-yarder came after a Union fumble. Jackson missed from 50 yards, but at halftime the game was tied at 6.

The Jackets retook the lead in the third period with an 80-yard drive, which was mostly on the legs of Smith. Quarterback Cameron Willis scored from 2 yards out, Gregory added the point-after and Union led 13-6.

Entering the fourth quarter, Union's defense held Riverside (4-4, 2-1) on downs, but a Smith fumble gave the ball back to the Warriors. They capitalized with a 1-yard touchdown run by Logan Whichard. A pass interference call on Union and a 12-yard catch by Gourdin set up the score, which tied the game at 13.

That set up the final minutes of drama.

 "We just couldn't continue our drives - we'd pick up a first down and then have a fumble or drop a third down conversion pass," said Bobo. "But they played hard and kept playing."

Union (2-6, 2-1) hosts Greer, which lost 21-17 to Clover, next week. The Jackets are tied in a four-way log jam at the top of the Region III-3A standings.

Region III-3A standings:
Union 2-1, Clover 2-1, Greer 2-1, Clinton 2-1, Riverside 1-2, Eastside 0-3.

Game notes: Richard Jackson sent kickoffs and punts routinely into the end zone for touchbacks. He even pined Union at its 1-yard line on one kick.

Riverside 20, Union 16
Riverside   0  6  0  14  -  20
Union        6  0  7   3  -  16

First downs: Union 18; Riverside 10
Rushing: Union 168; Riverside 72
Passing: Union 190; Riverside 99
Total offense: Union 358; Riverside 171
Penalties: Union 6-47; Riverside 6-50
Turnovers: Union 2 fumbles; Riverside 1 INT (Tramaine Pendergraph)

Passing: Union - Cameron Willis 13-30-190; Michael Wade 13-25-99
Rushing: Union - Kendrick Neal 16-45, Pip Smith 18-102. Riverside - Logan Whichard 11-59
Receiving: Union - Dontee Stewart 3-73, LJ Mobley 6-71. Riverside Gourdin 7-51


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