The Union Knights used a quick start and an opportunistic defense to open the 2018 season with a victory over a pesky Dyersville Beckman squad on Friday night.

After holding the Blazers to a three and out to open the game, the Union offense got the ball near mid-field and put together an 11 play, 52 yard touchdown drive that took nearly five minutes of game clock to complete. Junior Brayden Grosse did the honors, wedging his way into the end zone from the one yard line to give Union an early 7-0 lead.

In response, Dyersville Beckman put together a long drive of their own, marching from their own 16 to the Union one yard line. Successive plays on third and fourth downs could not break the plane of the Knights’ goal line, however.

One play is all it would take for the Knights to cash in the turnover on downs, as Britton Rolison got behind the Blazer defense on a pass route and quarterback Dylan Felderman’s pass hit him in stride. 99 yards later, the Union lead was doubled.

Less than two minutes later in the second quarter, the pair would connnect again, this time from 50 yards. With 9:34 remaining in the first half, Union had a comfortable 20-0 lead they would take into the locker room.

A tough Dyersville Beckman defense held the Knights in check the rest of the way, as the Union offense could only generate a handful of first downs over the final three quarters of play.

After Union’s second punt of the third quarter, the Blazers finally got on the scoreboard. Quarterback Seamus O’Connor’s pass was hauled in by Tom Jaeger, who made a nice cut to break free in the Union secondary, sprinting to the end zone for a 65 yard touchdown play.

The Blazers’ momentum, fueled by another three and out by the Union offense, continued to build. Starting at their 33 yard line, Beckman’s nine play, 67 yard drive was capped by an 11 yard O’Connor scramble for a touchdown. Suddenly, it was a 20-13 game.

Forced to punt for the fifth consecutive possession, Union fans began to get restless, as Beckman had the ball at their 32 yard line with 9:11 remaining in the game. The drive was torpedoed, though, thanks to a second down quarterback sack by the Union defense.

The Union offense finally got untracked, moving the ball into Blazer territory before being forced to punt. With 5:39 remaining, the Blazers had the ball on their own eight yard line. Once again, the Union defense rose to the occasion, as Britton Rolison nearly recorded a safety, sacking O’Connor at the Beckman one yard line on a fourth down play. Two plays later, Rolison scampered into the end zone to effectively put the game out of reach.

On Friday, the Knights go on the road for a non-district contest against a familiar foe- North Fayette Valley.