The Union County stadium was filled to capacity last night with fans eager to see the highly anticipated bout with 4-A Gaffney.
What had promised to be a grudge-match did not disappoint. When it was all said and done the Indians squeaked out a 28-21 win.
Union County struck first with a 12-yard touchdown hook-up between quarterback Keiston Smith and wide-receiver Chris Booker late in the first quarter. Brandon Shetley’s point-after kick was good and the Jackets took the early 7-0 lead.
Gaffney began a methodical march downfield midway through the second quarter and found themselves in the endzone with a 1-yard scamper courtesy of junior running back Hyleck Foster. A successful PAT knotted the game at 7-7.
The Union County defense held firm in the waning minutes of the first half and the Indians missed on a 37-yard field goal attempt and the clock expired for a 7-7 halftime score.
Gaffney collected 14 points in the second half before Union County answered with a 16-yard quarterback keep, cutting the margin to 21-13. Shetley’s PAT was blocked but an onside kick followed.
The Jackets recovered, putting the ball back in Smith’s capable hands. He went to work, legging out 16 yards and connecting with Jones for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
Down 21-19 with under a minute left in regulation, the Jackets needed a two-point-conversion. Smith faked a sweep and ran it in to tie the game.
However, with time running out, Gaffney’s JoJo McGill reached the endzone on a 21-yard carry and the successful point-after kick ended the game, 28-21.
“We gave it away in the first half,” said Union County Coach Steve Taneyhill. “I thought the defense played hard but our offensive line just didn’t win enough battles for us. We’ve got to work on some things but it was a great game and our kids fought hard at the end.”
*Look for more stats, game information and your Yellow Jacket of the Week online at www.uniondailytimes.com and in Tuesday’s print edition.*