BURGETTSTOWN — It was a case of too little offense too late Friday night for the Union High football team.
The Scotties managed just 94 yards of total offense and did not find the scoreboard until late in the game, as Burgettstown posted a 12-8 victory in WPIAL Class 1A Big Seven Conference play at Hill Memorial Stadium.
“Our theme all week was we were still in the playoff hunt,” Union coach Stacy Robinson said. “We were knocked down, but not out. We could still get up again. But we just didn’t have enough. We made too many stupid mistakes. I can’t keep claiming bad luck or other things. We create a lot of our own problems.”
Union, which dropped its fifth straight game to fall to 1-5 in the conference and 3-6 overall, was playing without senior quarterback Tyler Staub. Staub was injured in last week’s game at Fort Cherry and is out of the season. Staub had completed 60 of 125 passes for 961 yards with 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
“We didn’t have our catalyst leading the show for us, and it was a big difference,” Robinson said.
Neither team was able to generate much offense until late in the third quarter.
Following an interception by Zack Schrockman that gave them the football at their own 31 yard-line, the Blue Devils put together a 10-play drive to snap the scoreless deadlock.
Caleb Russell, running out of the wildcat formation, scored on a 3-yard run with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter. The conversion kick failed, but Burgettstown held a 6-0 lead.
“Burgettstown has a unique offense with a lot of motion and shifts,” Robinson said. “I give our guys credit. They were able to come out and for the most part bend, but not break.”
Union thought it had gotten on the board on its first possession of the second half, as quarterback Braylon Thomas hooked up with Jackson Clark on what looked to be a 74-yard touchdown pass. However, Clark was whistled for offensive pass interference to negate the TD.
“It was another touchdown called back,” Robinson said. “They often end up being game deciders.”
The Blue Devils added to their lead midway through the fourth quarter, as they took over at the Union 8 following a 3-yard punt. Two plays later, Russell bulled his way into the end zone. The conversion pass failed, but Burgettstown held a 12-0 edge with 7:15 remaining in the contest.
After forcing Burgettstown (2-4, 4-4) to punt on its next possession, the Scotties finally got on the scoreboard.
Quarterback Braylon Thomas escaped pressure and raced 48 yards down the near sideline for the Union touchdown. Thomas then connected with Jackson Clark on the conversion pass to trim the deficit to 12-8 with 1:48 remaining in the game.
“Braylon made a great play to get us on the board,” Robinson said. “We had a shot to come back to win the game.”
The Blue Devils recovered the ensuing onside kick, but just one play later Russell fumbled and the Scotties were in business at their own 45.
But Union was unable to generate any offense and on fourth-and-7 from the 48, Thomas was sacked by Owen Romano to seal the victory.
“We didn’t execute there,” Robinson said. “We had some things we had prepared all week in that situation, but we weren’t built for the moment tonight. We self destructed tonight, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.”
Union will host Shenango on Friday in its season finale.
“It just told them that it’s going to be a test to see what’s deep down inside of them,” Robinson said. “It’s been rough. Life’s full of problems, but you’ve still got to rise up and fight. You just can’t lay down. The ground’s no place for a champion. We’ve got to get up and fight, that way we can live with ourselves in the offseason and the seniors can live with themselves when they go on.”