And in the football game turned track meet Friday night at Stierberger Stadium, Union’s superior speed yielded a 60-21 victory for the Wildcats over rival Borgia.
“It’s always fun,” Union Head Coach Erick Webster said. “They (Borgia) played a good game. Early on, they got on top of us and made several big plays. It probably was a very fun game to watch through the first quarter and into the second quarter.”
Borgia Head Coach Dale Gildehaus gave his team credit, but felt the Knights couldn’t cope with Union’s speed.
“We made some great plays,” said Gildehaus. “We executed very well against a very good Union team. We don’t have their speed. We knew if we got into a track race with them, we were in trouble.”
Union (1-1) had an unbeatable combination in quarterback Blake Hulsey and receiver Logan Bellamy. The pair connected for three touchdowns on the night.
Hulsey, Union’s junior quarterback, completed 15 of 18 pass attempts on the night for 373 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Bellamy, also a junior, caught three of those touchdowns. He caught six passes on the night for 260 yards and added a 17-yard touchdown run on top of that.
“Blake Hulsey had a great night and threw the ball really well,” Webster said. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a better night from a receiver than I saw from Logan Bellamy.”
The three passing touchdowns went for a total of 164 yards. Borgia just did not have an answer for covering Bellamy all night long.
“We know that defense pretty well,” Webster said. “That’s what we practice against all the time. We’re pretty adept in finding and hitting big plays.”
The Knights (1-1) were able to keep up with Union for a while. Borgia matched the Wildcats through the first two touchdowns, but after Union took a 21-14 lead, a turnover proved to be the key play which turned a track meet into a rout.
“I’ve never been beat that bad ever in my entire coaching career,” Gildehaus said. “We’ve got to keep getting better. We’ll go back to work and get better.”
Union senior Joe Laskey recovered a fumble at the Borgia 17 and Bellamy ran for his touchdown on the next play. That put Union up, 28-14, and the Wildcats never looked back.
On the night, Union took advantage of three fumble recoveries deep in Borgia territory and scored soon after all three times.
“That’s a tribute to some of our coaches,” Webster. “They saw stuff in the box and adjusted. That was our goal to start fast. Blake Hulsey did a great job of taking coaching.”
Gildehaus said mistakes cost the Knights.
“We told the boys going in that we’re not good enough to turn the ball over or have any penalties and we got ourselves into trouble doing that,” Gildehaus said.
Another key came in pass protection. Union was able to give Hulsey all the time he needed for much of the game.
“They’re a well-coached football team,” Gildehaus said. “That kid throws the ball as well as anyone we’re going to see all year. We knew if we couldn’t get to him, we’re not as quick as their skill kids. Take your hat off to them, they’re a very good football team.”
Borgia struggled to contain Union’s pass rush.
“We’ve got to get better in pass protection,” Gildehaus said. “They were just pulling our ears back.”
Gildehaus said Union showed wonderful sportsmanship through the game as well.
“They were nice to us,” Gildehaus said. “They’re a class organization and gentlemen. Coach Webster is as good as they come. It’s a loss, but we’ve got to get better.”
Borgia also has an injury crisis at running back after senior Josh Kleekamp (shoulder) and junior Charlie Smith (concussion) both were lost during the game.
Both teams open conference play this week.
Union goes to Sullivan to face the defending Four Rivers Conference champion Eagles (0-2). Borgia hosts Duchesne (2-0) in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division opener Friday night. That also will be homecoming. The program also will honor members of the 1993 undefeated Class 3A state championship team.
In addition to his 373 passing yards, Hulsey also carried the ball seven times for 64 yards. He ran for one touchdown and a two-point conversion.
Defensively, Bellamy had two tackles.
Senior Jake Siddens caught three passes for 41 yards and one touchdown. Senior Jacob Carman had three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown.
Senior Jobie Richardson had one catch for 18 yards while junior Nick Eads caught one pass for nine yards and junior John Prosser caught one pass for five yards.
On the ground, Prosser ran seven times for 29 yards. Freshman Drew Reed had five carries for 22 yards and one score.
Senior TreLin Edwards had one carry for 12 yards. Carman carried once for three yards and freshman Ethan Hughes ran once for a loss of six yards.
Defensively, junior Casey Peth had 11 total tackles while junior Nick Maher ended with nine and sophomore Ryan Schumaker recorded eight.
Carman, Laskey, Siddens and senior Josh Skaggs posted sacks.
Despite the loss, the Knights had many positives.
Sophomore Kelan Winters returned six kickoffs for 152 total yards and gave the Knights good field position throughout the evening.
“Kelan Winters is going to be a player,” Gildehaus said.
Junior Justin Baylard completed 12 of 17 pass attempts for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
“Justin threw some nice passes,” Gildehaus said. “The touchdown pass he threw to Drake Raftery was picture perfect.”
Gildehaus said the plan was to give both Baylard and Raftery snaps behind center.
“Our original plan was to rotate our quarterbacks around, but we got into a rhythm and we were OK,” Gildehaus said. “When Josh and Charlie got hurt, I had to move Drake into the backfield.”
Winters was the big receiver with four catches for 76 yards and one score, the longest of the night at 63 yards.
Senior Tyler Breckekamp caught four passes for 45 yards. Raftery, a junior, ended with three catches for 46 yards and one touchdown.
Kleekamp caught one pass for four yards and sophomore Grant Broeder had one catch for two yards.
Sophomore Bret Snider completed his only attempt for two yards.
On the ground, Borgia ran 39 times for 121 yards.
Raftery led the way with 10 carries for 45 yards.
Baylard ran 15 times for 15 yards, with some of those coming after being flushed out of the pocket.
Snider carried five times for 37 yards in the game.
Sophomore Max Fry ran twice for nine yards while Kleekamp had two carries for eight yards.
Sophomore Hunter Warmack ran twice for one yard.
Backs with one carry each were Smith (7 yards), sophomore Dylan Voss (4), and Winters (-5).
Defensively, Warmack posted seven tackles while senior Todd Kleekamp had six and junior Phillip Swoboda posted five.
“This game showed my kids that if you do things well, we’re going to get better,” Gildehaus said. “I told them to not get down and to get excited about the good things we did.”
An early-season Four Rivers Conference showdown takes place Friday in Sullivan at 7 p.m.
“We don’t want to make this the revenge tour and go back and try to stick everyone who stuck it to us last year,” Webster said. “They’re a team in transition with a new head coach and trying to replace that amazing senior class they had last year. It will be a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against another conference team.
Union’s first road game of the season comes against a Sullivan team which has struggled so far this season.
The Eagles are 0-2 with losses to Park Hills Central (3-0) and Festus (42-7).
Despite the fact the Eagles have only scored one touchdown so far this season, Webster knows Sullivan will present a huge challenge for the Wildcats.
Senior quarterback Justin Biermann leads the Eagles and has scored the lone touchdown so far. He’s got 27 carries for 142 yards and has completed four of 12 pass attempts for 14 yards this season.
Webster knows it’s only a matter of time before Biermann, last year’s Missourian All-Area offensive and special teams player of the year, breaks out for a huge game.
“He’s a special kid and he always has been,” Webster said. “That’s going to be one of the big things we’re going to plan for.”
After Biermann, the Eagles have gotten 118 rushing yards from Joey Rigdon on 20 carries. Caden Weigl has run 12 times for 24 yard while Zach Holtz has 10 carries for 24 yards.
Matt McGowan has been the top receiver so far with one catch for 10 yards. Rigdon has two receptions for no yardage. Holtz has one catch for four yards.
Michael McDermott has attempted a pass.
Defensively, Weigl leads the team with 23 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Troy Creek has a sack to go along with 12 tackles. Jeremy Stumpe also has 12 tackles.
Borgia vs. Duchesne Preview
“The bad news for us is that we’ve got Duchesne and they’re a good football team,” Gildehaus said. “They’re 2-0 and state-ranked.”
It’s been a year since the Pioneers handed Borgia defeat in its first-ever AAA contest, 13-0, on a sloppy, rainy night in St. Charles.
That’s where the wheels fell off Borgia’s wagon as the Knights went 2-4 the rest of the season.
Not only is Borgia trying to turn the tables on Duchesne in the home opener, but the Knights also have to deal with homecoming and a ceremony honoring the 1993 state championship team.
And, the Knights again will be shorthanded due to injuries with Josh Kleekamp and Smith joining the injured list.
Duchesne is 2-0 with wins over Hillsboro (26-6) and Affton (20-7) and is ranked in the Class 3 state poll.
The Pioneers march into Borgia with most of the same players from last year leading the way.
Clay Stulce is the quarterback and he’s 9-22 for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Trevor Korba has carried 43 times for 268 yards and three scores. Stulce has 22 rushes for 203 yards and two scores.
Through the air, Alex Moore has caught three passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. The Pioneers likely will try to get favorable matchups with him in the Borgia secondary.
Korba has five catches for 39 yards.
Defensively, Korba and Rick Leach are the top tacklers with 24 and 16 stops, respectively. But the Pioneers also feature Drew Moore with 12 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery, and the run-stopping defensive tackle Brad Pryor (11 tackles).
It’s going to be a challenge for the Knights to contain Pryor up the middle.
Stulce has pulled two interceptions and has 50 yards in returns.
When the teams were trading touchdowns early in the game, Webster felt it might come down to the team having the most possessions.
“For a little while, I thought that’s what would happen,” Webster said. “Our field is pretty short grass and it serves us well. When games turn into track meets, I think that’s going to serve us well.”
Webster indicated that Union found its groove, and that proved to be just what his veterans needed.
“Things started clicking and when that happens, it’s a done deal for us,” Webster said.
Gildehaus knows his team is young, but feels Borgia is in the same position Union occupied last season.
“We had to play a lot of sophomores out of position, but that will just make them better in the long run,” Gildehaus said.
Overall, Gildehaus feels any experience the younger players can gain will help in the long run.
“Before the playoffs, come Week 9, we’re going to be a much better football team,” Gildehaus said.
Overall, Gildehaus knows that Friday’s game was not Borgia’s best effort by a long shot.
“We’ve had better days,” Gildehaus concluded.
UNI - Jacob Carman 24 pass from Blake Hulsey (Ryan Schumaker kick), 10:36
BOR - Drake Raftery 27 pass from Justin Baylard (Jake Erwin kick), 8:57
UNI - Jake Siddens 7 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 7:00
BOR - Kelan Winters 63 pass from Baylard (Erwin kick), 2:02
UNI - Logan Bellamy 56 pass from Hulsey (kick failed), 1:07
UNI - Bellamy 17 run (Hulsey run), 0:41.3
UNI - Hulsey 1 run (Schumaker kick), 9:03
UNI - Bellamy 52 pass from Hulsey (Schumaker kick), 10:58
UNI - John Prosser 15 run (kick failed), 6:22
UNI - Bellamy 56 pass from Hulsey (pass failed), 1:38
BOR - Bret Snider 2 run (Erwin kick), 7:30
UNI - Drew Reed 4 run (kick failed), 2:46