Tigers maul Lions 60-6
BY VINCENT ALEX BROWN
The Union County High School Tigers football team opened the regular season with a 60-6 rout of the visiting Potter’s House Christian Academy Lions on Aug. 29.
Head coach Ronny Pruitt’s smaller, faster team and new coaches busted the season wide open, scoring in the first four minutes of the game. Union marched down the field, with Isaiah Johnson leading the rushing attack along with Antwan Durn and Franklin Williams. They made good on the extra point, perhaps partly due to the ball being moved closer to the goal posts twice thanks to encroachment penalties against Potter’s House.
The Lions’ first possession was a short-lived, three-and-out affair. The Tigers took over and answered again with Caleb Cox’s 50-yard pass completion to Zach Lee for their second touchdown. The extra point attempt was no good, however, with the ball hitting the bottom bar of the uprights.
The Tigers immediately got the ball back when a Potter’s House player bobbled the kickoff reception, bumping the ball pretty much into Austin Mobley’s hands.
Darian Robinson joined Johnson in the running game after a completion to Cody Miller. However, Pruitt pulled him out after a small scrum between the two teams. Officials penalized both sides for unsportsmanlike conduct after conferring for several minutes.
Union County went on to score again to go up 19-0.
Potter’s House went three-and-out again, giving Union another chance to score in the first quarter, which it did with a 20-yard pass from Cox to Williams. The extra point put the Tigers up 26-0 with 2:38 left in the quarter.
The Lions churned their way through the time left, with Union’s Khris Wimpy making progress difficult. However, Potter’s House made its one and only score just seconds into the second quarter after a pass completion. The Lions’ two-point attempt was no good in spite of an arm-stretch after a quarterback keeper, putting the ball just a half-yard short of the goal line.
Union quickly answered in
kind with an explosive 60-yard rushing touchdown by Durn. The extra point put the Tigers up 33-6.
Johnson was injured during the Tigers’ next possession and was helped off the field as he was holding up his left leg. He returned to the sideline under his own power early in the third quarter to watch the rest of the game. As of press time, Pruitt was unsure on whether or not Johnson would be available to play on Friday.
At the start of the second half, the Tigers’ James Ford and Casey Driggers took turns beating up on the Lions.
The Tigers scored on their first possession of the second half after Durn ran in for a touchdown after a short screen pass from Cox. The quarterback’s pass to Williams secured a two-point conversion attempt, putting Union up 41-6 with 9:37 to go in the third quarter.
Things were looking ugly for the Lions, and the Tigers were not done yet.
Union County worked the ball down the field with several first downs, thanks to Durn and Robinson, who gained 18 yards on a play to put the Tigers in Lions territory. A few downs later, Dylan Durrance was knocked down and had to be helped off the field. Pruitt said Durrance sustained a broken leg.
Robinson then scored on a 15-yard run. The extra point was no good, but the Tigers were up 47-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Even throughout the fourth quarter, Union continued to pound away at Potter’s House.
The Lions fumbled the kickoff return, and the Tigers recovered, putting the ball on the Potter’s House 24-yard line. Driggers ran for 12 yards, and then Dairon Alexander ran it twice to put in the end zone with a 5-yard run. Tyler McDavid’s successful extra-point attempt put the Tigers up 54-6—and they’d still score once again.
Potter’s House went three-and-out yet again, thanks to some good defense by Lee, who used his height to thwart some pass attempts.
The Tigers wrapped up the game with a 41-yard rushing touchdown by Alexander. Cox knew it was good and the game was done as he walked toward the sideline even before Alexander crossed the goal line. A blocked extra-point attempt still gave the Tigers a 60-6 win over the Lions in this one-sided, big-cat fight.
Pruitt wanted to air the ball out more with his new spread offense, and it showed in this seasoning opener.
“We did some good things there,” Pruitt said.
He liked seeing his team’s well-balanced approach play out.
“I think every running back scored, and I think a couple receivers scored…again, that’s what we’ve got to be.”
Union hosts Class 4A West Nassau on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7:30 p.m. West Nassau is coming off of a 35-14 win over Keystone Heights.
In last year’s matchup, the Tigers scored all of their points in the final quarter to defeat West Nassau 13-10.