Fans of the Union Knights were hoping for one more home playoff football games following their contest against New Hampton. And the combination of a big pass play offense and a bend but don’t break defense nearly gave the home crowd what they wanted. The Chickasaws, however, had a response for every big play the Knights threw at them. A touchdown pass from New Hampton quarterback Alex Troyna to Tucker Tenge with three minutes remaining proved to be the game winner in a nip and tuck battle won by the Chickasaws, 26-20.
After forcing a punt on Union’s opening possession, New Hampton drove the ball deep into Union territory. The Knights held, though when the Chickasaws opted to go for it on fourth down rather than make a long field goal attempt. A few plays later, lightning struck for the first time when quarterback Brady Driscol connected with a leaping Dylan Bear on a deep post pattern. When Bear came down with the ball, he shed a would-be tackler who fell down and coasted into the end zone for a 97 yard touchdown.
In what would become a recurring theme, New Hampton’s response was a 55 yard touchdown drive of their own. A missed extra point, though, kept Union in front, 7-6.
In the second quarter with New Hampton on the move, once again the Union defense denied the Chickasaws, taking over on downs at the Union 27. Ninety seconds later, it was deja-vu all over again, as Driscol connected with Bear streaking across the middle downfield. One well placed stiff-arm was enough to create separation for a 73 yard touchdown play.
Once again, the Chickasaws had an immediate response, taking the ball 65 yards in eight plays. Another failed conversion attempt left Union ahead, 14-12.
When New Hampton took the second half kickoff and drove 55 yards for another score, the Chickasaws had their first lead of the game, 18-14. After trading punts the remainder of the quarter, New Hampton looked to put the game away with a fourth quarter drive deep into the Union red zone. From first and goal at the four yard line, the Knights made the defensive stand of the game, keeping the dangerous Tenge out of the end zone on fourth down.
Starting at their own 5, Driscol and the Union offense unleased an aerial assault that quickly moved the ball down the field. After Isaiah Vaughan dashed 16 yards to the New Hampton 1, Brady Driscol found a crease in the goal line defense to put Union back on top, 20-18.
But as they had done twice before, the Chickasaws answered Union’s touchdown with one of their own. After a holding call on the Knights gave New Hampton new life, Troyna lofted a pass high that Tenge ran under and gathered in for a 37 yard game-winning catch.
Union’s season comes to an end with an 8-3 record and District 6 championship in 2014.