UHS_FB_GR082914_016With the dawn of a new football season, the coaching staff for the Union Knights had several questions for which they were seeking answers. With a new quarterback for the first time in three years and running backs with very little varsity experience, how would the new backfield perform? With heavy losses to graduation on the offensive and defensive lines, could the Knights control the line of scrimmage?
In less than ideal playing conditions, Union had enough answers to make a passing grade, going on the road in their season opener and defeating Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 25-7. In weather ranging from a light drizzle to steady downpour, the Knights kept grinding against the highly regarded (Class A) Rebels, despite the wet and muddy field.
New backfield? Isaiah Vaughn’s first varsity start was good for 135 yards rushing on 20 carries. Runs of 12 and 36 yards resulted in a 12-0 lead Union took to the locker room at the half.
New offensive and defensive lines? For the most part, the Knights controlled the action in the trenches, particularly on defense. Gladbrook-Reinbeck could only muster 81 total yards of offense and never really threatened to score. On key plays, Union consistently stuffed third and fourth down plays, forcing the Rebels to punt seven times. Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Cameron Murphy took a Union kickoff 86 yards for a score.
Despite allowing the kickoff return, Union got positive contributions from special teams play. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Knights in control, 19-0, Justin Carey broke several tackles for an electrifying 76 yard touchdown punt return for the final Union score.
The Knights return home on Friday to host Center Point-Urbana.