After last week’s loss to James Kenan, the Spartans looked to redeem themselves against Pender. They did just that, by defeating the Patriots, 35-28.
The Spartans started off hot, using a touchdown pass from Alfredo Garcia to Tim Smith, a 16-yard rushing touchdown by Bakeem Murphey, and a fumble recovery for touchdown by Justin Smith. Before Pender knew what had hit them, they were trailing 19-0.
However, the Patriots battled back, scoring twice before halftime. Garcia also scored on an 8-yard touchdown run for the Spartans with 3:17 to go in the first half. Daniel Glover converted the 2-point conversion for Union, and they went into the break with a 13 point lead, 27-14.
Pender came out in the second half with more discipline and intensity. They scored on a run from Devin Hansley with 8:04 to play in the third quarter, and converted the 2-point conversion to make the score 27-22.
After a three-and-out by the Spartans, the Patriots marched back down the field to score again, taking a 28-27 lead, after an unsuccessful 2-point conversion attempt.
The Spartan crowd was getting antsy, but their team did not disappoint.
Union started their final drive with 2:10 to play in the game, trailing by one, and on their own 35-yard line.
Alfredo Garcia led the offense down the field through the air, to the 4-yard line. It was here that Daniel Glover would score the go-ahead touchdown, followed by Garcia scoring the 2-point conversion.
The Spartans held on defense, and Anfrenee Cromartie sealed the deal with a sack of the Pender quarterback.
Bakeem Murphey led the Spartan ground attack with 8 carries for 62 yards. Daniel Glover had 7 carries for 31 yards, and Garcia had 22 yards on 5 carries.
Garcia was 6-14 through the air with a passing touchdown and an interception.
Tim Smith had 3 receptions for 90 yards, Glover had 2 receptions for 33 yards, and Ryan Hall had 1 reception for 19 yards.
Defensively, Cromartie had 8 tackles and a sack, Hagan Thornton and Jarel Kerr had 8 and a half tackles each, Daniel Glover had 7 and a half tackles, and Justin Smith had 10 tackles.
Coach Doug Burley said his team played like a family tonight. “We only had one turnover and it was just as good as a punt (coming on fourth down.) We were very composed at the end and I’m really proud of my guys.”
Union won the turnover battle 3-1 on Friday, and marched 65 yards down the field to score with the game on the line.