It’s safe to say the Union Wildcats have found their offensive balance.
For the fourth game in a row, the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1) scored at least 40 points in a game while beating the Owensville Dutchmen (1-6, 1-3) on homecoming, 49-14.
“It was a really solid win for us,” Union Head Coach Erick Webster said. “They did a really good job. You saw it on the second play. The offense could score at will. The defense did a good job of holding a very solid rushing attack to few yards. They didn’t get much.”
Owensville Head Coach Dale Long saw miscues as a major problems.
“We made too many mistakes,” Long said. “We weren’t physical enough at the point of attack and that’s what cost us.”
For Union, the game helped the Wildcats stay a game behind Sullivan for the Four Rivers Conference lead. Union also stayed within striking distance of the Eagles in the Class 4 District 3 standings.
Sullivan has clinched a share of the league title heading to Owensville this week. A win would leave Union and others fighting for second place.
As of the end of Week 7, Union stood fourth in the district standings with 38.19 points, just over two points behind Sullivan (40.57).
Ladue (6-1) leads the district at 46.43 points while Westminster Christian (6-1) is second at 42.03 points.
Finishing in the top four of the district is critical for Week 10 because those teams will host games to start the district tournament.
Owensville holds a comfortable spot in sixth place of its district with 20.34 points heading into Friday’s home game against Sullivan. The Dutchmen are behind Bishop DuBourg (2-5, 25 points) and John F. Kennedy (0-7, 13.92 points).
John Burroughs (6-0) is the top team in the district at 56.89 points.
Union travels Friday to St. James for its last road game of the regular season. The Tigers enter the game with a 3-4 overall record and a 1-3 Four Rivers Conference record.
The Tigers started the season with wins over Cuba (49-22) and Houston (39-20) before losing to Hermann, 41-0.
The other St. James win came against Owensville in Week 4, 15-6.
St. James has been hampered by injuries through the middle part of the season, and has struggled to keep up since that point in losses to Moberly (58-7), St. Clair (39-7) and Sullivan (62-19).
The Tigers lost Cody Birkner to a broken foot which could keep him out of a big chunk of the basketball season as well.
Quarterback Brett Karnes is playing despite an injury to his non-throwing hand and the Tigers have been hit especially hard by injuries at the quarterback position.
“St. James is a spread team, another one which is really familiar with us,” Webster said. “They’re the option teams of modern day. You get a little nervous about it because at any point in time, someone can throw one deep on you or sneak one in on you. It’s something you’ve always got to be weary of.”
Owensville, meanwhile, faces the daunting task of trying to derail the Sullivan Eagles, who now have won five games in a row after starting the season at 0-2.
Sullivan’s average margin of victory in Four Rivers Conference games has been 28.8 points. Union came the closest of any FRC team, losing by a 36-22 score in Week 3.
Week 7 Statistics
Union couldn’t have been any more balanced in Friday’s game, rolling up 654 yards of total offense. Of that, 327 came through the air and 327 came on the ground.
Junior quarterback Blake Hulsey had another huge game for Union, completing 11 of 16 pass attempts for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
“Right now, he’s leading the state in some of the passing categories,” Webster said. “We would like to have him play a full game so he can work on that. He’s done as good a job as one can do while playing a half of football. It was a good game for him.”
Long said Hulsey is an outstanding quarterback.
“Union has a great quarterback,” Long said. “Blake does a great job for them. He throw really well. He’s a threat across the board, running and throwing. He’s patient and he finds receivers. Any time you give a kid that much time, he’s going to pick you apart left and right.”
Ethan Hughes went 1-5 for one yard in relief.
Union’s quarterbacks found five different receivers.
Logan Bellamy had the biggest game, catching five passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. His longest score went for 77 yards to give Union the lead just 50 seconds into the game.
“It’s not just his receiving,” Webster said. “He’s good on special teams and defense. We use him in so many places. He’s the unsung hero of this team. I know we come up with another nickname every week for him, but he has earned all of those nicknames.”
Jacob Carman grabbed four passes for 93 yards and one touchdown.
Jake Siddens caught a 61-yard touchdown pass.
Jobie Richardson had one catch for 11 yards and TreLin Edwards had one reception for one yard.
On the ground, John Prosser had a huge game with seven carries for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Prosser had a 57-yard touchdown run while adding a 15-yard run and a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
“The offensive line did a great job opening holes for him and he did a great job running,” Webster said. “He’s a shifty kid, one who is very hard to get solid shots on.”
Hulsey ran three times for 41 yards.
“Owensville did a good job of bringing pressure and forced the offensive line to adjust,” Webster said. “They forced Blake to scramble a little bit. I don’t like seeing that, but he’s really good at it.”
Drew Reed had two carries for 17 yards while Carman ran once for 16 yards.
Hughes had two carries for eight yards.
Bellamy and Nick Maher each ran once for seven yards. Tyler Brown had one carry for four yards and Daniel Collins carried once for three yards.
Ryan Schumaker was perfect on kicking extra points, hitting all seven of his attempts.
Defensively, Maher led the way with nine solo tackles and two assists.
Reed was next with six solo stops while Casey Peth had five total tackles.
Carman, Logan Meyer and Schumaker each had four solo tackles.
Lukis Ladymon, Joe Lasky and Peth recorded sacks. Deric Purnell intercepted a pass.
“We tried to get as many of the sophomores in as possible,” Webster said. “When you get the running clock, it’s tough to get everyone in down to the freshmen. We’ve got the JV game on Monday for that, though.”
Long said line execution hurt the Dutchmen.
“We didn’t execute on the defensive line,” Long said. “On the offensive line, we didn’t sustain blocks at all. We weren’t very physical with them and it showed. That was a big part of our demise tonight.”
If you arrived late, you missed Union taking the lead.
The Wildcats scored just 50 seconds into the game with Bellamy taking a pass from Hulsey on the left side. Bellamy was wide open and Hulsey hit him in stride for a 77-yard score with 11:10 left in the opening quarter. Union scored the first 49 points of the game before Owensville got onto the scoreboard in the third quarter.
Union also made some key stops. The Wildcats forced Owensville to concede field position with punts on fourth and short near midfield multiple times.
The Dutchmen took the stance of trying to make Union drive the length of the field. Unfortunately for Owensville, the Wildcats were able to do that multiple times.
Owensville was able to find success against Union’s backups.
“In the second half, we ran the ball well and were able to sustain blocks,” Long said. “We opened holes and did some good things. It was too little, too late.”
UNI - Logan Bellamy 77 pass from Blake Hulsey (Ryan Schmaker kick), 11:10
UNI - Bellamy 4 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 6:07
UNI - John Prosser 57 run (Schumaker kick), 3:30
UNI - Jacob Carman 12 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 1:05
UNI - Prosser 2 run (Schumaker kick), 4:04
UNI - Prosser 15 run (Schumaker kick), 0:53.5
UNI - Jake Siddens 61 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 8:32
OWE - Devon Dowler 73 run (Drew Garner kick), 7:36
OWE -Jesse Lowder 1 run (Garner kick), 1:49