Union County handles Greenville
Jackets advance to upper state

 


By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times

GREENVILLE - Union County is looking like a champion.

The Yellow Jackets certainly played like champs on Friday night, disposing of Greenville 31-14 and advancing to the upper state title game next Friday at Chester.

Marcus Whitener smoked the Red Raiders with 248 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. That's an average of 20 yards per carry.

"Marcus, what can you say?" said coach David Lipsey. "He's special. He's a heck of a back. He makes the coach look good. I tell you that. The things he does on a football field."

Lipsey and Whitener are quick to redirect credit to the offensive line.

"They're playing fantastic," said Lipsey. "They really are. Coach (Bryan) Robinson has done a great job with them. All our assistant coaches - you've got to give them credit. We're good because they work, they study and they really get after it on the practice field."

True, Union County (9-4) put up 443 yards total offense, 349 yards on the ground.

But the defense also is playing exceptional, holding a high-powered Greenville offense to just 222 yards, only four yards on the ground.

"I thought the kids played fantastic," said Lipsey. "They really came out ready to play. They played a heck of a ball game."

Whitener got things started on the first play from scrimmage, rushing 73 yards to set up a 3-yard Dwight Brannon touchdown on fourth down. Alex Tucker kicked the extra point.

Greenville (10-3) answered with two long passes to set up a 4-yard D.J. Jules score.

Tucker added a 35-yard field goal and the Jackets led 10-7 at halftime.

Marcus Lott intercepted a Greenville pass at the start of the second half and that set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Brannon to Kierre Smith on fourth down. Tucker kicked the extra point.

After a personal foul penalty on Union County, the Radiers answered with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Brooks Lewis to Chris Wallace. Jake Koenig added the point-after and Greenville pulled within three, 17-14.

That's when Whitener took control of the game. He broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run and then for an 88-yard touchdown run before Greenville knew what hit it. Tucker added both kicks for the final margin of victory.

"I like the way we're playing, the way we prepare on the practice field - that's where it all starts," said Lipsey. "We gear it up to play on Friday nights. These kids love to play football. They like to put that uniform on and represent our county. They come out and play awfully hard every Friday night."

Next up - Chester, a 48-24 winner over Daniel.

"We'll gear it up next week to go for an upper state crown," said Lipsey.

"We know Chester is good. We saw them in a scrimmage early - the first week of practice. They're a good football team. They're very athletic. It'll be another tough task, but that's what you expect this time of year. There is going to be two left in the Upstate, one has a chance to win a state championship.

"I know we'll have a great crowd in Chester," said Lipsey. "We'll lace it up and go again."

Union County 31, Greenville 14
UCHS - 7 3 14 7 - 31
GHS   - 7 0  7  0 - 14

U - Dwight Brannon 3 run (Alex Tucker kick)
G - DJ Jules 4 run (Jake Koenig kick)
U - Tucker 35-yard field goal
U - Kierre Smith 15 pass from Brannon (Tucker kick)
G - Chris Wallace 63 pass from Brooks Lewis (Koenig kick)
U - Marcus Whitener 65 run (Tucker kick)
U - Whitener 88 run (Tucker kick)

Total Yards: UCHS 443, GHS 222
Rushing: UCHS 349, GHS 4
Passing: UCHS 94, GHS 218
First downs: UCHS 12, GHS 6
Penalties: UCHS 2-20, GHS 5-38
Turnovers: UCHS 1 (Marcus Lott interception), GHS 1 (interception)

Notes: Brannon rushed for 70 yards ... Greenville converted a fake punt in the first half, but couldn't capitalize with any points ... The Raiders got a break when a punt hit a Jacket, but again they couldn't capitalize ... Whitener didn't play much of the fourth quarter. Union County substituted liberally in the final period ... UCHS continued to play until the final snap, with two players colliding after going for an interception late. Greenville, on the other hand, seemed to throw up the white flag after Whitener's second touchdown ...  GHS starting quarterback Matthew Roberts did not play after leaving last week's game against Blue Ridge with a concussion ... The Jackets have eliminated Greenville from the playoffs four times - 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007.

 

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