By Cheyne Reiter
The Union Knights opened their 2011 3A District 5 campaign with a convincing 56-7 win over the Center Point-Urbana Stormin' Pointers this past Friday night.
Led by the one-two punch of Wes Burnside and Trev Hadachek from the offensive side, the Knights jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Hadachek burst through the Pointer defense for a 10 yard touchdown run before Burnside got his own number called and plunged in for an 8 yard score.
Following the first quarter, it looked like the route was on; Center-Point Urbana had other plans. They began to fluster the Union offense and eventually scored a touchdown of their own on a Brandon Roseberry 21 yard plunge to pull within 14-7. Union countered with a long scoring drive finished off by Burnside once again and the 2-point conversion by Hunter Zempel gave the Knights a 22-7 lead heading into the locker room.
A back and forth first half fired up the Knights as they came out and ultimately buried CP-U in the third quarter alone. A tragic arm injury after a 37 yard punt return by Union senior Hunter Zempel helped fuel the Knights as well. Several players said that they 'played the second half for him.' The Knights scored four touchdowns, highlighted by an elusive 41 yard run from Burnside. Hadachek also scored once again, this time on a thrilling 47 yard fumble return. The Knights led 50-7 heading into the 4th quarter and tacked on a 1 yard touchdown run by Andrew Osuna to close out the final at 56-7.
Burnside finished the night with 160 yards on 20 carries and also added four touchdowns to bring his season total to ten in just three contests thus far. Hadachek completed 7 of 11 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown and also scrambled for an additional 82 yards on the ground. The Knight offense piled up 411 yards total following their record-setting 549 yard output last week.
Defensively, the Knights were led by seniors Dylan McLaughlin and Cole Hinders as they both piled up 10 tackles apiece. Defensive end Kyle Ansley seemed to be all over the field as well and finished with six tackles. The Knights continued their dominance as they limited the CP-U offense to just 153 yards of total offense on 45 plays. Three games into the season, the Knights defense has given up just 24 points total.
The Knights 3-0 (1-0) travel to Dewitt 1-2 (1-0) this Friday night for a showdown as last year's game between the two saw a track meet in which the Knights won 47-46. Varsity kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. following the 5:15 sophomore game.