A quick start and an opportunistic defense were the key ingredients used by the Union Knights in a 33-6 victory at Osage on September 20.
Union took the opening kickoff and promptly moved the ball down the field and found the endzone when Jacob Holschlag scored on a three yard run.
The Knights scored again 92 seconds later, thanks to Kolten Bader, who intercepted an Osage pass and then, one play later, was on the receiving end of a 52 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Scheel. With just over four minutes played in the first quarter, the Knights led, 14-0. When the Green Devils fumbled the ensuing kickoff away, Union fans had thoughts of a 35 point lead and second half continuous clock making it an early night.
Osage would not go down without a fight, however. With the ball resting on the Osage 42 yard line, the Green Devils’ defense stiffened, forcing a Union punt. Neither team could get any sustained offense going, as the teams traded punts the remainder of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Thatcher Goodale took a quick pass from Osage quarterback, Collin Havel, turned the corner and picked up a couple of key blocks, before racing 79 yards for a touchdown that cut the Union lead to 14-6.
The Knights responded with a drive deep into Osage territory, but a fourth down running play came up inches short of the goal line, denying the Union offense a touchdown.
There were less than four minutes remaining in the first half before the Knights would regain possession of the football. Driving 72 yards in just over three minutes, Union’s next venture into the Osage red zone produced a touchdown, as Scheel found Brady Driscol on a two yard pass play.
After struggling to consistently move the ball for much of the first half, the Union offense demonstrated its quick-strike capabilities after Osage fumbled away its second kickoff return of the game. With just 38 seconds remaining in the half and the ball resting on the Green Devils 25 yard line, Scheel’s second touchdown pass to Brady Driscol, this one from 9 yards out, came with two ticks left on the clock. The missed extra point gave Union a 27-6 lead at halftime.
The Union defense controlled the action in the second half, forcing three interceptions, two punts and two fourth down stops in six Osage offensive possessions.
The next four games will offer plenty of challenges for the undefeated Knights, as they face teams that have a combined 12-2 record in the first four weeks of play, including top-ranked Waukon on October 4. Union celebrates Homecoming this week, as they play their final non-district game against Western Dubuque of Cascade, a team that currently sits atop the District 4 standings with Center Point-Urbana.