Football: Union 26, Center Point-Urbana 16

In a game that looked every bit of the first game of the season, the Union Knights relied on four Jay Scheel touchdown runs and a relentless defense to grind out a 26-16 win at Center Point-Urbana on August 30. The contest between the Knights and Stormin’ Pointers beared little resemblance to the 45-42 shootout the teams engaged in a year ago, though it was clear from the outset the Knights were determined to avenge one of the only two losses they suffered in 2012.

After Center Point nearly scored on the opening play from scrimmage, the Union defense settled in and began to dictate play. In the first quarter alone, the Knights turned away a field goal attempt and stuffed two separate fourth down running plays on the Union side of the field.

Following an uncharacteristic slow start by the Union offense, which turned the ball over on its first two possessions, the Knights found the end zone on the last play of the first quarter when Jay Scheel scored on a 16 yard run. Eskild Erickson’s extra point made the score 7-0, Union.

It didn’t take long for the Knights to add to the lead after the Union defense forced a Stormin’ Pointer punt. Scheel led the team on a 55 yard drive, capping it with 23 yard sprint into the end zone for a 13-0 Union lead. The Knights were not done yet, though.

On the Stormin’ Pointers next possession, an alert Union defense pounced on the ball after a CP-U receiver gave up on what he thought was an incomplete pass. Because the ball was actually thrown backward, the fumbled lateral resulted in a takeaway for the Knights.

Scheel would make CP-U pay two minutes later, plowing into the end zone from five yards out. A failed two-point conversion gave Union a 19-0 halftime lead.

Union fans would not be able to relax, however, until late in the game, as Center Point-Urbana kept the pressure on, scoring the only points of the third quarter and trimming the Union lead to 19-8. The Knights answered right back early in the fourth quarter when Scheel scored his fourth touchdown of the game.

After declining the penalty for booting the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, the Stormin’ Pointers opted to make Union kickoff again. The decision paid off when Nick Dighton found a gap in the Union coverage and bolted 86 yards for a touchdown. After that, the Union defense made sure there would be no more points scored by the home team, allowing the Knights to head home with a hard-fought victory.

After surrendering 45 points to CP-U a year ago, the Union defense limited the Stormin’ Pointers to just 211 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers.

As the Knights prepare for their home opener on Friday against Aplington-Parkersburg, they will need to reduce the miscues that resulted in three turnovers and 92 yards of penalties against Center Point-Urbana.

It was a relentless Union defense that led the way to a 26-16 win for the Knights over Center Point-Urbana on Aug. 30. Photo by Jane Whittlesey.

It was a relentless Union defense that led the way to a 26-16 win for the Knights over Center Point-Urbana on Aug. 30. Photo by Jane Whittlesey.