It doesn’t have to be pretty.
And Union Head Coach Erick Webster said Friday’s 42-14 win in Owensville isn’t going to be remembered for its aesthetics.
“The stats were not very good as far as the numbers go,” Webster said. “We threw for 300 yards, which is normal for us. We had some trick plays which got us into scoring position pretty quickly and Matt Bray was able to run them in.”
While the game might not have been the best played of the season, Union (5-2, 4-0) came through with the key win over the Dutchmen (2-5, 1-3).
“This was the first time our seniors have beaten Owensville,” Webster said. “They weren’t here the last time we beat them.”
League, District Races
With the win, Union can sew up at least a share of the Four Rivers Conference with a home win over St. James Friday night. Kickoff at Stierberger Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
“It’s important to these kids that they leave their mark in program history,” Webster said. “They want to win it outright. We know St. James is talented, but our kids want this.”
Union closes its schedule with a game at Hermann in Week 9. While both games are critical in the Four Rivers Conference title chase, they’re also crucial for the postseason. Union is fighting to get a home game in Week 10 when the playoffs start.
Currently, Union is fourth in the Class 4 District 5 standings and that’s good enough for a possible home game in Week 10. If the season ended today, Union would host Helias in the first round of the playoffs.
Union currently has 37.62 points while Helias has 31.12 points heading into Friday’s game against Rock Bridge (5-2).
Webster also is looking forward to possibly moving up in the standings. The Wildcats currently trail Camdenton (6-1, 49.12), St. Francis Borgia Regional (6-1, 44.71) and Rolla (6-1, 43.93).
Passing Borgia, a team Union lost to in Week 2, might be too much to ask, but Camdenton and Rolla play each other this week and the loser could slip below Union with the right results.
Starting quarterback Derek Hulsey completed 13 of 26 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Eli Klenke threw once for a 34-yard completion. Cameron Frost was 1-1 for a 30-yard touchdown.
Klenke was the top receiver with eight catches for 142 yards and one touchdown.
Joey Sullivan had two receptions for 46 yards. Donavan Rutledge grabbed one pass for 60 yards. Guy Steele had one catch for a 30-yard touchdown.
Frost caught a pass for 17 yards, Bray had one reception for 12 yards and Nathan Voss made one catch.
On the ground, Bray ran 14 times for 57 yards and three touchdowns.
“Those normally aren’t numbers you put together,” Webster said. “We got some big plays to put us into scoring position fast.”
Bray was the only player with positive rushing yardage. Hulsey also ran for a 10-yard touchdown.
Haiden Meyer led the Wildcats defensively with 10 tackles. Noah Allen had nine total tackles. Nick Luechtefeld recorded seven total tackles. Jesus Payan had six total tackles and Brett Linhardt ended with five.
Zac Elias and David Clark each had a sack. Demitrius Clark intercepted a pass.
Hunter Grafrath was perfect with six successful extra-point kicks.
Union started with an interception, but came back to get a seven-yard run from Bray with 6:41 left in the quarter. Grafrath’s kick made it 7-0.
The Wildcats doubled it with 2:50 to go in the quarter on a 10-yard run by Hulsey. Grafrath’s kick made it 14-0.
The second quarter belonged to Bray. He ran for an 11-yard score with 9:37 left in the half and ran in from two yards out with 6:32 to go.
Hulsey found Klenke for a 15-yard touchdown with 25.5 seconds left in the half and Grafrath’s kick made it 35-0 at the intermission.
Webster said Union allowed about 20 yards of offense to the Dutchmen in the first half.
“It was Ownesville’s homecoming and their 50th year of football celebration,” Webster said. “We saw what it did to their kids. We don’t want that to happen this Friday on our senior night.”
With a running clock to start the second half, things went quickly.
“It was one of the shortest football games I’ve been in,” Webster said. “The second half took less than 30 minutes to play. In the end, we had some of our younger guys in there.”
Union added a 30-yard touchdown pass from Frost to Steele with 16.8 seconds left in the third quarter.
That gave Union a cushion when Owensville started to come back in the fourth quarter. Trevor Abernathy’s 50-yard run with 10:22 did not stop the running clock. Sebastian Dixon kicked the extra point.
Another Abernathy run from one yard out with 1:34 to play did stop the running clock. Dixon’s kick made it 42-14, which was the final.