Union’s home opener was one they’ll want to forget quickly, a 44-6 loss to the top ranked team in the state’s 1A poll, James Kenan. Union fought hard the entire game, but James Kenan proved to be quicker and more athletic, as well as have more experience.
Union received the ball to start the game, and put together an excellent drive that ended with a touchdown. The drive took nearly eight minutes off the clock, and after the PAT was blocked, Union lead the top ranked Tigers 6-0. However, James Kenan would adjust defensively, allowing no more points the entire evening.
James Kenan scored towards the end of the first quarter, and converted their 2 point conversion attempt, to take an 8-6 lead. On the next Spartan drive, a punt attempt was fumbled, allowing James Kenan to take over in Spartan territory. A minute later, Tiger running back and NC State commit Marcelias Sutton found the end zone. He did the same two minutes later, and after Dominique Barnes found Antonio Smith on a long touchdown strike, James Kenan lead 30-6. After Union’s final drive of the half stalled, the halftime score remained 30-6.
Union would cross the goal line twice in the third quarter, but both were called back due to clipping penalties. Both times, it was like any bit of momentum Union had acquired was gone. Union would allow 2 more James Kenan touchdowns, but continue to fight hard.
Things just weren’t going Union’s way. Quarterback Ryan Hall threw a beautiful pass down the field, in which two of his own players kept the other from catching.
Offensively for Union, Ryan Hall was 4-12 passing with 30 yards and an interception. Dezmond Faison was the leading rusher with 162 yards on 21 carries. Dustin Alphin had 6 carries for 45 yards and 2 receptions for 19 yards, and Traquan Peterson had 5 carries for 16 yards, including a 4 yard touchdown run, as well as a catch for 6 yards. Tim Smith had 1 catch for 5 yards.
Defensively, Dustin Alphin led the way with 7 tackles. Aaron Sanchez had 6 tackles, Corey Smith had 5 tackles, and Hagan Thornton, George Fernandez, and Dawan Carr each had 4 tackles for the Spartans.
Union had 11 costly penalties and 1 official turn over. James Kenan scored every possession with the exception of a 50 yard field goal attempt that missed, and taking a knee on their last possession to let the clock expire.
Coach Doug Burley of Union said he was proud of his team’s effort, and that they played a great team. He said they had some things they needed to work on in practice before traveling to Hobbton next week. Union falls to 0-2 on the season.