Thanks to another strong defensive performance, the Union Knights had little trouble winning their fifth straight game, turning in a dominating performance at Waterloo Columbus to trounce the Sailors, 48-7.
Columbus proved to be a generous host on the first play of the game, fumbling the opening kickoff, giving the ball to the Knights on the Sailors’ 25 yard line. From there, it was just a handful of plays before Koby Alpers’s eight yard run put Union on the scoreboard for an early 7-0 lead.
The Knights controlled field position throughout the game. Late in the first period, a short Columbus punt set up the Union offense on the Sailors’ 45 yard line. The Knights made quick work of the short field, needing just five plays to double their lead after Kaleb Roach scored on a one yard plunge.
Early in the second quarter, Union’s punt coverage team gave the offense great field position, blocking a Sailor punt. One play later, Alpers was in the end zone again following a ten yard run. Union 21, Columbus 0.
The Knights’ defense then forced an errant pass from Columbus quarterback Parker Westhoff, and Union’s Quinten Kinsel was in the right place to take advantage, returning the interception ten yards to the Columbus 23 yard line. Alpers’ third touchdown run of the first half extended the Union lead to 28-0 with 6:27 remaining in the half.
The Knights still had time to score two more first half touchdowns on a pair of Troy Hanus runs, first driving 48 yards after the defense forced another quick three and out. After trading interceptions, another short Columbus punt gave the Knights the ball on the Sailors’ 29 yard line. Union used all but seven seconds of the 1:05 remaining in the second quarter to extend the lead to 41-0 at halftime.
Union’s final score of the game came on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, as Britton Rolison burst through an opening for a 61 yard touchdown run. The Union defense was the story of the game, limiting Columbus to just 85 total yards of offense, 69 of which came on a two play scoring drive late in the game as the Knights substituted freely on defense. It was the first touchdown scored against the Union defense in four games.
After feasting on teams at the bottom of the District 4 standings, Union begins a three game stretch that will determine their postseason fate. First up is a game against Waukon (5-1), a team several publications had as the preseason #1 ranked team in Class 2A. While the game will be played on the Upper Iowa University field for the second consecutive season, the Knights will be listed as the home team.