Solid defensive play and a balanced offensive attack have been the keys to success for the Union Knights during the month of September. Both were on display on Friday night, much to the delight of a large, festive Homecoming crowd that went home happy following Union’s dismantling of Dyersville Beckman, 41-6.
For the third straight game, the Union offense rolled up more than 200 yards both running and passing the ball. Quarterback Troy Hanus spread the ball around to five different receivers, including a beautiful 34 yard pass lofted over a Beckman defender into the waiting hands of Britton Rolison, who wasted little time dashing into the end zone to stake the Knights to an early 14-0 lead.
Likewise, Union’s ground game was a shared experience and equally effective. Junior Kaleb Roach led the way with 80 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Hanus added 48 yards and two touchdown runs of his own.
Much of the credit for Union’s undefeated run through the month of September can be traced back to the improved play of the defense, which extended its scoreless streak to 12 quarters, as the Beckman Blazers’ only score came on a 92 yard kickoff return. The Knights set the tone early with several big hits and limited the Beckman offense to just five conversions on 15 third and fourth down plays.
Union controlled the pace of play in the first half, as scoring drives of 80 and 82 yards staked the Knights to a 20-6 halftime lead. Beckman received the second half kickoff, looking to cut the lead in half. After three offensive plays went nowhere, the Blazers had to punt the ball away. The Union offense then put together a 9 play, 70 yard touchdown drive. With eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, Union led 27-6.
In the next four and a half minutes on the game clock, the Blazers’ misfires on special teams would seal their fate. A shanked punt that resulted in negative yardage gave the Knights great field position. Three plays later, Roach bulled his way eight yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night.
Roach would score yet again, just minutes later following a botched Blazer punt attempt. With the ball near mid-field, the snap to the Beckman punter sailed over his head. Retreating near the goal line with Union’s Tate Hookham bearing down on him, the desperate punt attempt died on the Beckman 9 yard line. Two plays later, Roach was in the end zone and the Knights had a 41-6 lead to put the game our of reach.
With the victory, Union remains tied at the top of the District 4 standings with 3-0 Cascade. The Knights are 4-1 overall.