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Game of the Week

Stayin' alive

Union (38) vs. Western Beaver (7)
Written: Sep 23, 2016
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

The Union High football team is back in the postseason hunt.

Tre'von Charles and Rissaun McKnight paved the way for the Scotties' scoring attack and the defense did the rest Friday night in a 38-7 WPIAL Class 1A Big Seven Conference home win over Western Beaver.

Charles scored three touchdowns and McKnight added a pair. Union's defense allowed just 159 total yards and nine first downs to cap off the dominant performance.

The Scotties (1-2 conference, 2-3 overall) came in needing a win to stay alive in the nine-team league. The top five squads from the conference advance to the postseason. A loss would have pushed the Scotties into a three-way tie for last with Cornell and Shenango.

"I don't know about it being an elimination game, but our backs are to the wall," Union coach Stacy Robinson said. "Every league game, your back is to the wall. Especially when you've lost a couple like we have.

"We felt we let a couple of games go early in the season that we feel we could have won. But we're getting on track."

Charles scored on scoring scampers of 55 and 42 yards, as well as returning the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a score.

"We needed this one to have a chance to remain in the playoff hunt," Charles said. "This was a very important game for us.

"I think we played better with our backs to the wall."

Things started turning around for the Scotties last week when they blanked non-conference foe Jefferson-Morgan, 30-0. A second consecutive shutout was looking pretty good until the Golden Beavers (2-2, 3-2) broke it up with 4:05 remaining in the final frame.

"I'm not a big stat man. I need the win," Robinson said of the team not securing a second straight shutout. "As much as we struggle with our numbers and being able to compete each week, I'll take the win. I'm not worried about (the shutout) anyway. I don't think they give out an award for points scored against."

Union's offense was efficient throughout. The Scotties led 6-0 after one quarter on McKnight's 14-yard run and the hosts stretched it to 12-0 at the break on Charles' 55-yard dash.

Charles helped Union put a firm grip on the game when he returned the second-half kickoff for a score. The Scotties won the coin toss and deferred. That choice afforded the hosts to expand the lead. And Charles wasted little time doing so.

Charles found an open lane and raced into the end zone for the score on special teams.

"I saw a big hole," Charles said. "I was surprised they kicked it back to me. Coach said they probably weren't going to kick it back to me. They kicked it back to me and there was a big hole so I took it."

Said Robinson, "Deferring sure made me look like a genius tonight. Special teams make a difference. They can win you a game and they can lose you a game."

McKnight, a Woodland Hills transfer, also scored on a 13-yard run in the third period. He finished with 62 yards on eight carries.

"Rissaun is a big, physical back to bring down," Robinson said.

Charles finished with 139 yards on nine carries. Robinson has been moving him around at different positions to fully utilize his talents.

"I was supposed to be at wide receiver but I switched to running back a lot," Charles said. "The line was blocking great tonight, just like they did last week against Jefferson-Morgan. I was finding the holes and running hard."

Robinson noted Charles' strong play of late. Last week, Charles rushed for 217 yards on just eight carries.

"Tre is doing well, he's doing what is expected of him," Robinson said. "Am I surprised? Just a bit. Believe it or not, I expect more from him.

"He has the ability to be a game-breaker any time he touches the ball and that's a plus."

Kyree Huddleston's 10-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave Union a 38-0 lead and initiated the mercy rule.

Freshman quarterback Tyler Benedict didn't need to showcase his arm much in the lopsided win. He threw just two passes for the Scotties, both in the first half, and completed one for 23 yards. Benedict was starting his fourth straight game in place of Evan Pinkerton, who suffered an injury in the opener against Laurel.

"I knew Tyler Benedict would get better and he is," Robinson said. "He's just a young buck, but he's developing.

"Evan is coming along. I don't know what his timetable is for coming back, but he's eager to get back. He's chomping at the bit."

Union returns to action at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 1 when it travels to Summit Academy (1-3, 1-3).

"The rest of the year, we have to win football games. That's the bottom line," Robinson said. "You want to win as many games as you can and when the dust settles, see where you're at and go from there."



9 First downs 15

150 Yards Rushing 265

22 Yards Lost 18

128 Net Rushing 247

8 Passes Attempted 2

3 Passes Completed 1

1 Passes Intercepted 0

31 Yards Passing 23

159 Total Yards 270

1-1 Fumbles-Lost 1-1

4-27.5 Punts-Average 1-31

8-60 Penalties-Yards 4-30

WESTERN BEAVER 0 0 0 7 — 7

UNION 6 6 19 7 — 38

Scoring plays

UNION — Rissaun McKnight, 14-yard run (kick blocked).

UNION — Tre'von Charles, 55-yard run (pass failed).

UNION — Charles, 85-yard kickoff return (pass failed).

UNION — McKnight, 13-yard run (kick failed).

UNION — Charles, 42-yard run (Charles kick).

UNION — Kyree Huddleston, 10-yard run (Charles kick).

WESTERN BEAVER — Jeddy Young, 7-yard run (Zack Shank kick).
Union 6 6 19 7 0 38
Western Beaver 0 0 0 7 0 7
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