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Game of the Week

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Union (18) vs. Shenango (19)
Written: Oct 28, 2016
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By Clayton Sauertieg

New Castle News

It was a game so close that it almost had to come down to a final heart-stopping play.

And that is exactly what happened when the Union High football team traveled to Shenango with a playoff berth on the line Friday night.

Scotties running back Rissaun McKnight came inches short of late two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, and the Wildcats hung on for a 19-18 Class 1A Big Seven Conference victory that vaulted them into the WPIAL playoffs.

Shenango (4-4 conference, 4-5 overall) takes the fifth and final playoff spot in the conference, while Union (2-6, 3-7) falls one game short of a postseason appearance.

"It was great by both sides and you just had a feeling it was going to come down to the two-point conversion," Wildcats coach Mike Commesso said. "I didn't watch it, so I don't know what happened other than I heard our fans get excited. So it's a great win for us and our seniors on senior night, and I feel fortunate to come away with a victory tonight."

The contest was as tight and tense as one would expect from two conference rivals vying for a playoff spot on the final night of the regular season. The Wildcats started the game cold, going three-and-out on their opening drive and punting the ball away. A Lou Domenick 47-yard punt with no return pinned the Scotties deep, but that's when junior running back Tre'von Charles went to work.

Charles carried the ball five straight times, racking up 46 yards and moving Union from the shadow of its own goal line to near midfield. A few plays later, he picked up a fumble after a toss on a reverse from McKnight, switched direction, ran back to midfield and dashed down the far sideline for a touchdown that was officially scored as 32 yards. Just like that the Scotties were in the lead.

The Wildcats woke up midway through the second quarter. A 44-yard run by junior running back Young set them up at the Union 6. Following a 4-yard loss, a Domenick drop on what would have been a walk-in touchdown, and a incomplete pass on third down, the Wildcats finally converted. On fourth-and-goal, junior quarterback Maxwell Reamer faked a hand off to Young, rolled to his right and threw back across the field to hit Young on a wheel route from 10 yards out for the score. Domenick added the extra point and suddenly Shenango had a 7-6 lead.

Union drove right back down the field, once again on the back of Charles. The Scotties' playmaker ripped off a 56-yard run down the sideline to set them up with first-and-10 at the Wildcats' 14. After a 4-yard run by Charles, a penalty by Union left it facing a second-and-11 from the 15. Junior quarterback Evan Pinkerton threw an incomplete pass followed by two runs of his own as the Scotties turned the ball over on downs.

"We tried to mix it up," Union coach Stacy Robinson said. "You don't want to be one-dimensional. In hindsight, everybody has 20-20 vision."

The Wildcats extended their lead midway through the third quarter, as Domenick hauled in a tipped pass from Reamer and streaked down the sideline to score from 59 yards out. The extra point, however, was no good and Union stayed within one possession, 13-6.

The Scotties pulled even closer early in the fourth quarter as McKnight barreled in from eight yards out on a halfback dive. The Shenango defense stiffened, however, and kept Union out on a two-point conversion attempt as McKnight was hauled down short of the goal line, leaving the score at 13-12.

The Wildcats' offense came right back, driving 70 yards, highlighted by an 18-yard halfback pass from Young back to Reamer and a 16-yard touchdown pass from Reamer to junior wideout Matt McMillen. Shenango missed the extra point to keep the game within one possession, 19-12, and a mishit by Domenick on the ensuing kickoff set up the Scotties with first-and-10 at their own 47 with 6:16 remaining in the fourth.

"He just missed it," Commesso said. "He just missed the ball. (He) Didn't kick it solid. It wasn't supposed to be onside, which put them in great field position."

Once again the Wildcats defense responded, forcing a fourth-and-seven from midfield. But Union had an answer, as a tunnel screen from Pinkerton to Charles went for 20 yards and put the Scotties back in business. Shenango had a chance to seal the win when McKnight fumbled at the 10. But Scotties' lineman Zach Montswil recovered. Two plays later, McKnight dashed up the middle for a 5-yard TD run with 1:35 remaining. With his team down 19-18 and facing a two-point conversion attempt to take the lead, Robinson called timeout. On the following conversion attempt, McKnight dashed right and looked bound for the end zone before being met at the goal line by Shenango senior linebacker Bret Hoover, who brought down McKnight inches before he crossed the line.

"It meant a lot," Robinson said. "I mean, it's a game of inches and according to the referees, we came up a few inches short. I don't know, we thought he was over a couple times, even on the first two-point conversion. But, you know, wherever they spot it, that's how it has to go."

Moments later, a McKnight onside kick attempt was covered by freshman Carlton Sluder.

The play by Hoover was one of his many on the night for the Shenango defense. The senior made two sacks earlier in the contest and tracked Charles across the field all night.

"Yeah, he (Hoover) was amazing," Commesso said. "He was playing with an ankle injury. He really didn't play at all last week after the first couple plays. So we weren't even sure if he was gonna go. But he was certainly a difference-maker tonight. He just played his guts out with that ankle and was a big reason we won."

(Email: csauertieg@ncnewsonline.com)



UNION SHENANGO

13 First downs 7

254 Yards Rushing 117

17 Yards Lost 9

237 Net Rushing 108

12 Passes Attempted 13

8 Passes Completed 7

0 Passes Intercepted 0

67 Yards Passing 124

304 Total Yards 232

2-0 Fumbles-Lost 0-0

35.3 Punts-Average 3-35.6

8-54 Penalties-Yards 1-5

UNION 6 0 0 12 — 18

SHENANGO 0 7 6 6 — 19

Scoring plays

UNION – Tre'von Charles, 32-yard run (kick failed).

SHENANGO – Josh Young, 10-yard pass from Maxwell Reamer (Lou Domenick kick).

SHENANGO – Domenick, 59-yard pass from Reamer (kick failed).

UNION – Rissaun McKnight, 8-yard run (run failed).

SHENANGO – Matt McMillen, 16-yard pass from Reamer (kick failed).

UNION – McKnight, 5-yard run (run failed).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Union 6 0 0 12 0 18
Shenango 0 7 6 6 0 19
GAME OF THE WEEK ARCHIVE
One step short 12/3/16 Neshannock season comes to end 11/27/16 The (im)perfect season 11/19/16 WPIAL championship game 11/18/16 New Castle advances to WPIAL Class 4A title game 11/11/16 Neshannock routs Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Neshannock hosts Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Thriller 10/28/16 Union at Shenango 10/28/16 'Canes stumble; playoff berth on line in finale 10/21/16 New Castle hosts Ringgold on Senior Night 10/21/16 Wilmington falls in battle of unbeatens 10/15/16 Wilmington at Hickory 10/13/16 On the defensive 10/8/16 Neshannock hosts Riverside 10/7/16 New Castle struggles in home loss to Mars 9/30/16 New Castle hosts Mars 9/30/16 'Canes hope to even score against Mars 9/30/16 Stayin' alive 9/23/16 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/23/16 Ground assault 9/17/16 Wilmington hosts Sharpsville 9/16/16 Too many mistakes for Laurel 9/10/16 Riverside travels to Laurel 9/9/16 Neshannock routs North Catholic 9/3/16 Canes quipped 8/31/16 A good mix 8/27/16 Black Friday 11/14/15 Wilmington vs. Cambridge Springs 11/13/15 Defense steps up for Lancers 11/7/15 Neshannock vs. Bentworth 11/5/15 No doubt about it 10/31/15 Neshannock vs. Union 10/30/15 Crowning effort 10/24/15 Shenango vs. Riverside 10/23/15 Playoff hopes dashed 10/17/15 Laurel vs. Beaver 10/16/15 A costly brawl 10/10/15 New Castle vs. Central Valley 10/9/15 Inching closer 10/3/15 Union vs. Shenango 10/2/15 'They had us on our heels' 9/26/15 South Side Beaver at Union 9/25/15 Shootout 9/19/15 Neshannock at Riverside 9/18/15 Pivotal 9/13/15 Neshannock, Shenango clash Saturday 9/11/15 Under the weather 9/5/15 New Brighton at Laurel 9/4/15 Heartbreaker 11/15/14 Neshannock vs. Clairton 11/14/14 Weathering the storm 11/8/14 Neshannock vs. Jeannette 11/7/14 Fast and furious 11/1/14 Springdale at Shenango 10/31/14 Opportunity lost 10/25/14 Sharpsville at Wilmington 10/24/14 One for the books 10/18/14 Ellwood City at Laurel 10/17/14 Ground war 10/11/14 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/10/14 Drenched with happiness 10/4/14 South Side Beaver at Shenango 10/3/14 The perfect storm 9/27/14 Moon at New Castle 9/26/14 Coming up short 9/20/14 West Middlesex at Wilmington 9/19/14 Back in the saddle 9/13/14 Neshannock at Riverside 9/12/14 Tough act to follow 9/6/14 New Brighton at Ellwood City 9/5/14 'We will get better' 8/30/14 West Allegheny vs. New Castle 8/29/14 End of the road 11/16/13 Neshannnock vs. North Catholic 11/15/13 'Sharks in a frenzy' 11/9/13 Lancers advance to WPIAL semifinals 11/9/13 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/13 The best defense 11/2/13 Neshannock vs. Brentwood 11/1/13 'We battled to the end' 10/26/13 New Brighton at Mohawk 10/25/13 Costly blunders 10/19/13 Sto-Rox at Laurel 10/18/13 West Allegheny rallies in fourth to defeat 'Canes 10/12/13 West Allegheny at New Castle 10/11/13 Mohawk wins thriller behind McConahy, Barber 10/5/13 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/4/13 Spartans ride big second half to win over Union 9/28/13 Laurel at Union 9/27/13 Burkes stars as Lancers escape upset bid 9/21/13 Shenango at Neshannock 9/20/13 So close ... 9/13/13 Neshannock at Sto-Rox 9/12/13 Run to glory 9/7/13 Laurel at Neshannock 9/6/13 Dando, Spartans roll over South Side Beaver 9/5/13 South Side Beaver vs. Laurel 8/30/13 Turnovers spell doom for Wilmington in D-10 title game 11/26/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 11/24/12 Caught in a 'Bear' trap 11/17/12 Neshannock vs. Clairton in WPIAL Class A semifinals 11/15/12 Neshannock advances 11/10/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/12 Neshannock advances 11/3/12 Neshannock vs. Jefferson-Morgan 11/2/12 Down and out 10/27/12 New Castle at Hopewell 10/26/12 Pugh paces Wilmington to win over Sharon 10/22/12 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/19/12 Mohawk falls to Beaver 10/13/12 Beaver vs. Mohawk 10/12/12 ‘We tip our hats to them’ 10/8/12 Neshannock at Rochester 10/5/12 Big-play display for Union 9/29/12 Union vs. Laurel 9/28/12 Lancers rout Shenango for fourth win 9/24/12 Blend of old, new sparks Union win 9/22/12 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/21/12 ’Hounds rise up for win over Hickory 9/15/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/14/12 Milestone victory 9/10/12 New Castle at Riverside 9/7/12 699 and counting 9/1/12 New Castle vs. Central Valley 8/31/12 Turnovers lead to season-ending loss for Wilmington 11/21/11 Wilmington vs. General McLane 11/17/11 End of the dream 11/12/11 Ellwood vs. Greensburg Central 11/11/11 Ellwood advances 11/5/11 Ellwood City vs. Freeport 11/4/11 Mixed reviews 10/29/11 New Castle vs. Blackhawk 10/28/11 Wilmington rolls to Region 3 title 10/22/11 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/21/11 It's Polka time 10/15/11 Ellwood City vs. Laurel 10/14/11 Aliquippa cruises past Ellwood City 10/8/11 Aliquippa vs. Ellwood City 10/7/11 Wilmington holds on for thrilling win over Hickory 10/1/11 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/30/11 Union pulls away for win over South Side Beaver 9/24/11 South Side Beaver at Union 9/23/11 Big plays spell doom for New Castle 9/17/11 Central Valley vs. New Castle 9/16/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Neshannock vs. Serra Catholic 9/9/11 New Castle suffers disappointing loss in opener 9/3/11 New Castle vs. Butler 9/2/11 Sharon ends Wilmington’s dominance 11/22/10 ‘Underdog’ Greyhounds move on to a rematch with Sharon 11/15/10 Wilmington vs. North East 11/12/10 Tough lesson 11/6/10 WPIAL Playoffs: Ellwood vs. South Fayette 11/5/10 Wolverines earn playoff berth 10/30/10 Riverside at Ellwood City 10/29/10 'Hounds lose heartbreaker 10/23/10 Wilmington at Sharon 10/22/10 Wolverines outlast Spartans 10/16/10 Laurel at Ellwood City 10/15/10 'Canes fall to Parkway foe Hopewell 10/9/10 New Castle to battle Hopewell 10/8/10 Lancers fall to Western Beaver 10/2/10 Western Beaver at Neshannock 10/1/10 Wolverines fall to Beaver 9/25/10 Beaver at Ellwood City 9/24/10 Shenango runs past South Side 9/20/10 Greyhounds lay hammer down on Greenville 9/11/10 Wilmington vs. Greenville 9/10/10 New Castle comes through 9/4/10 New Castle vs. Butler 9/4/10 Memorable run ends for Wilmington football team 12/14/09 Wilmington vs. Greensburg Catholic 12/11/09 Wilmington survives close call against Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington vs. Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington blanks Sharon 11/28/09 Wilmington vs. Sharon 11/27/09 Laurel season ends with setback 11/21/09 Laurel vs. Clairton in WPIAL semifinals 11/20/09 West Allegheny ends New Castle’s season 11/14/09 New Castle vs. West Allegheny 11/13/09 New Castle holds off Greensburg Salem 11/7/09 New Castle at Greensburg Salem 11/6/09 Wilmington routs Slippery Rock 10/30/09 Slippery Rock at Wilmington 10/30/09 Shenango blanks Union 10/24/09 Shenango at Union 10/23/09 Spartans overwhelm Monaca 10/17/09 Monaca at Laurel 10/16/09 Mohawk outlasts Ellwood City 10/10/09 Mohawk at Ellwood City 10/9/09 Rochester turns back Laurel in battle of unbeatens 10/3/09 Laurel at Rochester 10/2/09 Laurel opportunistic against Neshannock 9/26/09 Neshannock at Laurel 9/25/09 New Castle ends streak against Blackhawk 9/19/09 New Castle hosts Blackhawk 9/18/09 New Castle passes test against Indiana 9/12/09 Indiana at New Castle 9/11/09 Ellwood comes up short against Freedom 9/5/09 Freedom at Ellwood 9/4/09 Wilmington wins PIAA title! 12/15/08 'Hounds headed for Hershey 12/6/08 Wilmington vs. Aliquippa 12/5/08 Wilmington holds off Martinsburg Central 11/29/08 Wilmington edges Slippery Rock for District 10 title 11/24/08 "Down and Out" 11/19/08 New Castle outlasts Indiana in quarterfinals 11/8/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/7/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/6/08 New Castle routs Franklin Regional 11/1/08 Franklin Regional at New Castle 11/1/08 Laurel wins, but not enough 10/25/08 Shenango at Laurel 10/25/08 New Castle routs Ambridge 10/18/08 Ambridge at New Castle 10/18/08 Rochester blanks Neshannock 10/11/08 Wilmington handles Sharon 10/4/08 South Side Beaver blanks Neshannock 9/27/08 Neshannock vs. South Side Beaver 9/27/08 Neshannock holds off Laurel 9/20/08 Rochester blanks Union 9/13/08 Union-Rochester 9/12/08 Mohawk routs New Brighton 9/6/08 Butler outlasts New Castle 8/30/08
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