WAUKON - The No. 15 Union Knights (6-3) suffered a gut-wrenching regular season finale loss at West Marshall last week, in which they not only missed out on an outright District 7 title, but it also forced them to drop nine spots in the rankings.
Due to this, they were forced to take on the No. 3 seeded Indians of Waukon, who were the defending 2A champions from a season ago, Friday night on the road.
Using the comfortability of playing at home, Waukon struck first just two and a half minutes into the game on a two yard run by Dawson Baures. Baures then converted the two point conversion on the ground to put the Indians up 8-0. Union would respond on their next offensive drive with a sustained eight play drive that resulted in a 35 yard field goal by junior Marc Mahood to trim the deficit to five. However, it was all Waukon after this.
With two and a half to play in the opening quarter, Creed Welch found John Ronan for a three yard touchdown pass before another successful two point try put the Indians up 16-3. Moving to the second quarter, Waukon extended their lead by 24 more on a pair of runs by Baures (1 yard, then 61 yards) and a 41 yard touchdown catch by the junior in between off a pass from Welch. The Indians converted on all three two point conversions in the quarter and were five for five on the night.
Trailing 40-3 at the break, the Knights did not allow Waukon to find the endzone again in the second half. However, Union’s lone touchdown came with just 1:23 left on a senior to senior 21 yard aerial connection from Dylan Felderman to Silver Schmitz. A two point conversion run by senior Kaleb Roach put the Knights into double digits, but it was not enough as they fell 40-11.
“We knew they were explosive on offense and our plan was to sustain offensive drives to keep them off the field, but we didn’t do a good job of doing that and big plays killed us. You have to give Waukon credit. They are sound, well-coached, and fundamentally sound on all segments,” said Union Head Coach Joe Hadachek.
Union had trouble moving the ball offensively for most of the night, but Roach came within one yard of 100 on 19 carries to end his career on a positive note. Defensively, senior Kyle Gross led a team that said goodbye to 21 players Friday with 5.5 total tackles.
“This senior class will leave a footprint of unity. You can tell how much a guy puts in to it by their reaction after the last game. What it takes to be a champion in the game of life, but we are blessed to have the greatest classroom on the planet, a football field,” added Coach Hadachek.