Points were at a premium Friday night when Union High hosted Rochester for Senior Night.
The Scotties’ defense pitched a shutout, and Union got a pair of touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to blank the defending conference champs, 16-0, in the WPIAL Class A Big Seven Conference football opener for both teams at Socs Roussos Stadium.
“They’re a storied program with a rich tradition,” Union coach Stacy Robinson said. “Wins don’t come easy over Rochester. It was a great win. We had to fight every inch of the way, the game wasn’t over until the final horn. We’re happy to get a win over Rochester.”
Heading into the fourth quarter, Union (1-0 section, 3-1 overall) finally broke the stalemate at the 8:06 mark when Jackson Clark scored around the right side from 4 yards out. Clark also ran in the conversion to make it 8-0.
“It felt good,” Clark, a senior running back, said. “We all came out and played as a team. Nobody stuck out, we just played as a team. Nobody gave up.”
The Scotties sealed the victory with 1:52 remaining as quarterback Tyler Staub scrambled for an 11-yard TD run. Staub then found Mike Gunn on the conversion pass to set the final.
“The defense was paying a very good game,” Clark said. The defense gave us the momentum. Once we got the ball in the second half, we knew what we had to do.”
Union’s defense limited the Rams (0-1, 2-1) to just 150 yards on 49 offensive plays.
“Rochester is going to try to wear you down,” Robinson said. “We preached that all week to our kids. We couldn’t get beat two weeks in a row. We had a bend, but don’t break defense.”
Both teams’ teams’ defense were hitting on all cylinders in the first three quarters.
The Scotties had the most productive drive in the first half, moving the ball to the Rochester 15, but the go-ahead pass was broken up in the end zone by the Rams’ Jerome Mullins to end the first quarter.
“I was a bit worried because you have to be able to capitalize when you’re playing Rochester,” Robinson said. “We made some halftime adjustments. Credit to the kids; They played great. It was a trying week up here with everything going on in the world. We were able to overcome all of that and get an important victory tonight.”
Union finished the game with 208 yards of total offense on 42 plays. Clark paced the Scotties by rushing for 84 yards on seven carries.
The Scotties honored their senior class prior to the game, and threw a bit of a curveball at Robinson.
“They’re just great kids,” Robinson said. “We have such a small squad, that you get to know everybody. We moved up senior night because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. We wanted to get it in.”
After Union’s senior class was honored, Robinson received a plaque to celebrate is 25 years as Union’s top dog.
“They pulled a fast one on me,” said the dean of Lawrence County football coaches. “I was ranting and raving about how long senior night was. I kept wondering why so many of my family members were here. It just never kicked in for me.”