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McKEES ROCKS — When you’re short-handed, you can’t afford to be generous.

Union was in the giving mood last night as three turnovers led directly to Sto-Rox scores in a 43-8 setback in a WPIAL Class A Big Seven Conference battle at Sto-Rox Memorial Stadium.

“We’re not good enough to give anybody an extra opportunity. We have to scratch and claw for everything we get,” Union coach Stacy Robinson said. “Sto-Rox is a good football team and well coached. We just weren’t able to stand up to the pressure tonight.”

The Vikings (2-0 Big Seven, 3-0 overall) cashed in on a pair of turnovers for back-to-back scores in the first half. They recovered a Union fumble and marched in for 19-0 lead late in the first quarter. Darnell Anderson came through with the next one as he picked off a pass and raced 25 yards into the end zone for a 27-0 edge in the second.

“We try to make sure we take advantage of every opportunity,” Sto-Rox coach LaRoi Johnson said. “When other teams create opportunities for us — I think what makes great teams great teams is they never allow the other team to get away with a mistake. I thought we did a good job there.”

The Scotties (0-2, 0-3) had two other turnovers throughout the game. Even though Sto-Rox didn’t score directly off them, they stalled Union’s attack.

“It might sound crazy, but, coming into the game, I thought, if we played almost flawless ball, we’d have a shot at getting a win,” Robinson said. “But, obviously, we didn’t. I am still proud of our guys. We ain’t got but a few. They aren’t making excuses. They are tough kids. Once the injuries start hitting us, the snowball starts rolling downhill for us.”

That was the case in the second half even though the Scotties got some momentum just before intermission. A diving Tyler Staub hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Benedict and Anthony Nealy snagged the conversion pass to cut the margin to 27-8 with 1:46 remaining before halftime.

Union was stifled in the third quarter, though. The team generated minus 5 yards of offense in the frame.

“Our defense just woke up a little bit and decided to bounce back,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of guys who can play a lot of different positions. We just try to swarm you. We want to try to keep it rolling and doing what we’ve been doing.”

The Scotties didn’t muster much in the fourth quarter as the game got out of reach. Sto-Rox pushed the lead to 43-8 midway through the frame to trigger the 35-point mercy rule.

“In all three games, our defense has played well. Unfortunately, they are on the field a long time,” Robinson said. “As soon as they are done playing there, they go to offense. We’ve bought into the mantra that we’ve had for a few years — we have to march all night and fight all day. I am going to give my kids credit; they do what they can.”


Joe Sager is a former full-time sports writer for the New Castle News and currently freelances for the News and other Western Pennsylvania newspapers.

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