After clinching the Class 2A District 6 championship a week ago, the 6-1 Union Knights took to the road for what promised to be a challenging non-district contest against the Anamosa Blue Raiders. After a winless campaign in Class 3A in 2013, the move to Class 2A has been a good one for the Blue Raiders, who also entered the game with a 6-1 mark, tied atop the District 4 standings with Western Dubuque of Cascade.
The Knights received the opening kickoff, but were unable to sustain a drive and had to punt. Taking possession on their 25 yard line, the Blue Raiders found the end zone on their first play from scrimmage on a 75 yard pass play, the first score against the Union defense in over 12 quarters of play.
The Knights responded with an 80 yard drive that consumed more than five minutes of the first quarter clock. After Isaiah Vaughan dashed 29 yards for a touchdown, Union was even at 7-7.
Early in the second quarter, the Union offense went on the move again, covering 63 yards in just under two minutes. When quarterback John Boisen delivered the ball in stride to Dylan Bear on a crossing route, the Knights had a 14-7 lead and appeared to be taking control of the game.
When the Union defense recovered a Blue Raider fumble on the next series, the Knights were poised to strike again. Two plays later, the Union faithful cheered what looked to be Union’s third touchdown of the game, as Vaughan went streaking past the last Anamosa defender on his way to the end zone. The play was whistled dead, however, as the officiating crew ruled he had stepped on the sideline.
Momentum shifted back to Anamosa when a Boisen pass was intercepted and returned to the Union 29 yard line. On their fourth attempt to score from the Union 1, the Blue Raiders thwarted a valiant goal line stand, and the teams were even at halftime, 14-14.
Late in the third quarter, after the teams had traded touchdowns, the Knights surrendered another big play, this one a 77 yard touchdown run to put Anamosa ahead, 28-21.
Miscues in the fourth quarter put Union in a deeper hole, as the Blue Raiders picked off two more Boisen passes, the second giving Anamosa the ball on the Union 33 yard line. While the Knights kept Anamosa out of the end zone, a 22 yard Blue Raider field goal that just crossed the uprights padded the lead to ten points, 31-21.
With just one timeout left, Boisen led the Knights quickly down the field and delivered a 6 yard scoring pass to Justin Carey with 1:32 remaining in the game.
Union’s rally came up short, however, when the Knights’ onside kick attempt was flagged for interference.
On Friday, the Knights will close out their District 6 schedule when they travel to Eldora to face a 4-4 South Hardin squad. Following the game, they will await the announcement of playoff pairings, which should find Union hosting a first round game on October 29.