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Poplar Bluff Spoils Union’s Opener on New Field

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:00 pm

Were the Union Wildcats excited to play on their new turf field at Stierberger Stadium?

Excited might have been an understatement.

“I love the field. As a head coach and my classroom being literally 50 feet off the field,” Union Head Coach Erick Webster said. “I’ve been watching it be built and I’ve been out here all summer. I feel kind of awkward, but I know the names of the guys who installed the turf. I know about their families. I’ve probably been out here too much.”

But it was Poplar Bluff who triumphed on opening night Friday, taking a 31-14 win back to Butler County.

The visiting Mules were able to control the line of scrimmage while opening holes for running back Bi Nguyen, who ran for 300 yards in the contest.

“Take nothing away from Poplar Bluff. They did a good job tonight,” Webster said. “That little running back (Nguyen) is quicker than a hiccup. He’s a special player. Their quarterback is not too bad, either and they’ve got some linemen who are pretty good.”

Union (0-1) stays home this week to host Borgia (1-0). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“I have nothing but respect for what Coach (Dale) Gildehaus and the Borgia Knights do and I know they feel the exact same way about us,” Webster said.


Overall, the Wildcats were able to move the ball at times with the highlights coming in the third quarter.

Quarterback Blake Hulsey accounted for all 14 of Union’s points, scoring on runs of three and two yards. The first touchdown came on Union’s opening possession of the second half and was a three-yard run.

The drive marked a huge change from the first half. Webster said there was no huge halftime talk to turn things around.

“We’re not big rah-rah guys,” Webster said. “We corrected errors and we refocused. We’re not going to yell and scream. The Xbox generation kids don’t respond well to that. The game console doesn’t do that to them. We need to fix things, correct things and get them back focused on the task.”

The second score came on a two-yard run with 1:56 to go in the quarter. Hulsey also ran for the two-point conversion.

But Union still struggled in other areas.

“We still didn’t tackle any better,” Webster said.

Poplar Bluff started the game with the opening touchdown, an 84-yard pass play from quarterback Kameron Misner to Tristen Francisco over the left side.

“The first big pass put us on our heels,” Webster said. “We’ve had some movement in the secondary lately. The DB didn’t get his hips turned and underestimated his speed.”

While Nguyen did not score in the first half, his long running plays were able to set up scores and the Mules led 21-0 at the half.

“We had issues with the linebackers not filling correctly. When you run a 30 front, you’ve got to have defensive linemen who take up two blocks,” Webster said. “If they’re not taking up two blocks, somebody’s going to get blocked among the linebackers. If you get one guy blocked, you create a crease and that’s why football is the greatest team sport in the world. But, it hurts sometimes because you feel like you just can’t stop the bleeding. It just keeps going. That’s where we’re at right now. At times we couldn’t stop the bleeding.”

After Union’s first score, Nguyen finally got his touchdown on a one-yard run between the two Union scores. Collin Jones drilled a 28-yard field goal with 9:06 to play for the final score.

But things got ugly late in the game.

“That last two minutes was about the longest two minutes of football I’ve seen,” Webster stated.

Union made mistakes, but Webster felt some of those came through experimentation.

“Mistakes did hurt us tonight,” Webster said. “I don’t necessarily mind the mistakes. Teams that don’t make mistakes in Game 1 are the teams not doing different stuff and are not taking chances. We’re always going to be a team that takes chances. We’re still gamblers at heart. That’s who we are.”

Offensively, Union gained 175 passing and 79 rushing yards.

Hulsey completed 20 of 28 attempts for 175 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions.

Logan Bellamy was the top receiver with five catches for 56 yards. Jobie Richardson caught five passes for 41 yards. Nick Eads had three catches for 22 yards. Receivers with two catches were TreLin Edwards (45 yards), Jacob Carman (7) and Drew Reed (1). Tyler Pace had one catch for three yards.

Hulsey led the rushing game with eight carries for 48 yards. Nick Maher ran six times for 16 yards. One-carry backs were Bellamy (8), Carman (4), Pace (3), Reed (1) and Edwards (-1).

Defensively, Maher was the top tackler with 15 solo stops and four assists. One of his tackles was for a loss.

Joe Lasky and Ryan Schumaker each had seven tackles while Carman, Bellamy, Logan Meyer and Casey Peth each had six stops.

Bellamy recorded one interception, in the end zone during the first quarter.

Borgia Preview

Webster knows emotions probably will be running high Friday night when Borgia visits Stierberger Stadium.

“As a head coach, you’ve got to get a feel to whether to be a brake or an accelerator,” Webster said. “Typically, when you go into rivalry week, you spend more time being a brake and tell them to slow down, that it’s just another game.”

Webster feels it should be a thrilling game.

“I know for people in this community and that community, that it’s a great rivalry, and a healthy one at that,” said Webster. “It’s not like ‘we hate those guys.’ There’s a lot of respect.”

The Knights won at Owensville last Friday, 26-6, with all points being scored in the second half.

Last year, the Knights rolled over Union, 56-12, something which Union returners should remember.

“Hopefully, our guys will be hungry,” Webster said.

Borgia currently is tied for third in Class 4 District 3 along with Westminster Christian at 33 points. Union is tied with Sullivan and Ladue for seventh with seven points.

Even though the Knights won over Owensville Friday, they’re entering the game with a quarterback controversy.

Drake Raftery led the Knights offensively from the position after taking over in the second half from Justin Baylard. Raftery ran for 119 yards in the game while passing for 45 yards.

Baylard ran for 42 yards and threw for 15 yards.

Other than those two, the Knights were bottled up on the ground.

Through the air, Kelan Winters was Borgia’s top receiver on the night with three catches for 25 yards. He also posted 11 tackles and one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

John Hanneken posted 12 tackles with two sacks and a fumble recovery.

Other top tacklers were Josh Kleekamp, Logan Bell and Hunter Warmack.

Brendan Joyce recovered two fumbles.

Box Score

PB 14-7-7-3=31

UNI 0-0-14-0=14

First Quarter

PB - Tristen Francisco 84 pass from Kameron Misner (Collin Jones kick), 7:42 Poplar Bluff 7, Union 0

PB - Misner 1 run (Jones kick), 2:51 Poplar Bluff 14, Union 0

Second Quarter

PB - Jake Pulliam 1 run (Jones kick), 7:08

Third Quarter

UNI - Blake Hulsey 3 run (kick failed), 9:15

PB - Bi Nguyen 1 run (Jones kick), 5:54

UNI - Hulsey 2 run (Hulsey run) 1:56

Fourth Quarter

PB - Jones 28 field goal, 9:06


Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North



Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter


Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1




Pool 2


North Tech


Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific at Union    7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

St. Clair vs. Lindbergh, 1 p.m.

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington vs. Lutheran South, 4 p.m.

Borgia vs. Poplar Bluff, 5:30 p.m.

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Francis Howell    7 p.m.

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia vs. Sullivan, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.


Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games