Union County wins barn burner
Jackets upset undefeated Blue Ridge
By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times
Whew! 107 points and more than 1,000 yards offense.
It was a shootout, a barn burner, a wild and crazy Friday night at Union County Stadium.
Union County handed No. 3 Blue Ridge its first loss of the season, 57-50 on homecoming.
Kelvin Hardy's interception with 56 seconds left preserved the Yellow Jacket win - a huge defensive play on a night that was all offense.
"I don't think I've been in a shootout like that," said Yellow Jacket coach David Lipsey. "You wonder when the big play is going to come defensively or on special teams and right at the end we made the big interception. It was a heck of an effort by our guys."
Union County ran 50 plays for 584 yards total offense on the night. Blue Ridge ran 58 plays for 538 yards offense.
The Jackets had 517 yards rushing, 67 yards passing. The Tigers had 301 yards rushing and 247 yards passing.
Marcus Whitener rushed for 331 yards and four touchdowns, and Dwight Brannon had 155 yards rushing and four touchdowns to lead Union County.
Alex Tucker kicked five extra points, and Brannon ran for two two-point conversions for the Jackets.
Entering the fourth quarter the game was tied at 43. Union County went on a 75-yard, 9-play drive. Whitener had some big runs to set up his 4-yard touchdown run. The kick failed.
After Blue Ridge was stopped on fourth down, Whitener scored on a 69-yard run. Brannon scored on a two-point run and the Jackets led 57-43 - the biggest lead of the night for either team.
Blue Ridge wasn't done. Marquis Leamon caught a 38-yard pass and then an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback C.T. Morton. The kick was good.
The Tigers recovered the onside kick in Union County territory and Leamon quickly caught a 13-yard pass, but Hardy's interception ended Blue Ridge's perfect season.
"I went and told every assistant coach yesterday that I was proud of them - how hard they had worked and they had really turned up the heat and did a heck of a job (in practice) this week," said Lipsey. "I'm proud of this team. They really came back after a poor performance last week (a loss to Riverside) and knocked off an undefeated team."
The game started with Blue Ridge marching 68 yards with J.J. Booker runs and two Leamon catches. Booker scored on a 4-yard run and the kick was good.
Union County answered, going 55 yards, mixing the run and the pass and Brannon scoring from 17 yards out. The kick was true.
Blue Ridge answered with a 59-yard touchdown pass from Morton to Murphy and the kick was good.
Whitener scored on a 28-yard touchdown run and the kick tied the game at 14. Booker scored next from 5 yards out after a 63-yard drive that mixed the pass and run and with the kick the Tigers led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The Jackets opened the second period with a 5-yard touchdown run by Brannon to cap a 55-yard drive. The kick tied the game.
Sherman Hawkins intercepted a Tiger pass and Brannon scored on a 12-yard run. The kick was true.
Leamon answered with a 40-yard touchdown catch from Morton. The kick tied the game.
Late in the half, Union County came up short on fourth down at the Blue Ridge 6-yard line.
The Tigers capitalized with Murphy catching a 60-yard pass from Morton. The kick gave Blue Ridge a 35-28 halftime lead.
To start the second half, Whitener broke free for 46 yards to set up a 5-yard Brannon score and the kick tied the game.
M.J. Suber caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from Morton and Dillon Epps caught a two-point pass to give Blue Ridge a 43-35 lead.
Whitener again broke free for a 59-yard touchdown and Brannon ran four two points to even the score gain.
That led to the exciting finish.
Union County (4-4, 3-2) travels to J.L. Mann next Friday. Blue
Ridge Falls to 7-1 overall, 4-1 in region play.
Union County 57, Blue Ridge 50
BHS 21 14 8 7 - 50
UCHS 14 14 15 14 - 57
B - Booker 4 run (No. 25 kick good)
U - Brannon 17 run (Tucker kick good)
B - Murphy 59 pass from Morton (25 kick good)
U - Whitener 28 run (Tucker kick good)
B - Booker 5 run (25 kick good)
U - Brannon 5 run (Tucker kick good)
U - Brannon 12 run (Tucker kick good)
B - Leamon 40 pass from Morton (25 kick good)
B - Murphy 60 pass from Morton (25 kick good)
U - Brannon 5 run (Tucker kick)
B - Suber 78 pass from Morton (Epps pass from Morton)
U - Whitener 59 run (Brannon run)
U - Whitener 4 run (kick failed)
U - Whitener 69 run (Brannon run)
B - Leamon 8 pass from Morton (25 kick good)
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