The No. 9 ranked Union Knights hit the road Friday night to take on No. 1 Waukon in what was viewed as the feature matchup in all of 2A.
The Knights and Indians split a pair of tightly contested games during the 2012 season. After dropping last season's regular season game 34-33, Waukon eliminated Union from postseason play with a 21-14 victory.
Waukon ensured that their first 2013 game against Union wouldn't be a nail-biter.
The top-ranked Indians jumped out to a commanding 21-0 halftime lead and never looked back, shutting out the Knights, 35-0.
After starting 4-0, the Knights have dropped two straight games for the first time since 2009 and just the third time since Head Coach Joe Hadachek took the reins in 2008. The sixth-year coach saw some areas that need major improvement following Friday night's defeat.
"We need to block and tackle more physicallyperiod," said Hadachek.
The Knights opened the game with a promising drive, only to have it end with a Jay Scheel fumble. The Indians capitalized and marched down the field before QB Parker Hesse sprinted in for a 13-yard TD run. The senior added another TD run from 35 yards out to make it 14-0 Waukon after 12 minutes of play.
Waukon extended their lead in the second quarter. Hesse connected with halfback Marcus Weymiller for a 19-yard catch-and-run, making it 21-0 at the break.
Union opened the second half with a defensive stop and had their offense in business, across the 50 in Indians' territory. However, a protection breakdown led to a Scheel interception by Hesse who returned it 76 yards the other way for a touchdown.
The Indians' Jacob Ronan finished off the Knights in the fourth quarter with a 52-yard TD carry.
Hesse finished 6-of-8 for 62 yards and a TD and also ran 13 times for 85 yards and two scores. Weymiller led Waukon in both rushing and receiving yards. The halfback had 137 yards rushing on 18 carries and added three catches for 44 yards and a TD. Despite Hesse having a hand in four of Waukon's five touchdowns, Hadachek said there's a whole lot more to the Indians than just him.
"They're a good fundamental football team. Weymiller is the most underrated running back in 2A. I'd put him up against anyone we have seen in the last six years in terms of running the football."
Offensively, it was a struggle for the Knights. Scheel completed just 12-of-25 passes for 127 yards and an interception. His scrambling ability was limited to 31 yards on 16 carries. Jacob Holschlag led the Knights with 32 yards rushing, and Brady Driscol led all receivers with five receptions for 57 yards.
Hadachek knows there may be a shot at redemption down the line against Waukon but for now, the focus is on the Knights' next opponent, Hampton-Dumont.
"Maybe we'll get another chance (at Waukon), but we have to worry about Hampton-Dumont right now. They're the number one rushing team and offense in our district."