WOODRUFF — Union County’s Friday night bout with region foe Woodruff was the offensive shootout that fans expected to see, although the result was not what the Jackets faithful had hoped for and the Wolverines defended their turf with a 63-37 win.
“They outplayed us,” said Union County Head Coach Steve Taneyhill. “The better team won, no doubt about that. They beat us in every aspect of the game.”
On its first posession Woodruff hit paydirt with a 58-yard Brian Bailey pass to Hermunde Rutledge. Taylor Green’s point after kick was good for the early 7-0 lead.
Union County answered with a 38-yard hook-up between quarterback Keiston Smith and junior wideout T.J. Foster that set up a 36-yard Kalay Jones touchdown catch. Brandon Shetley split the uprights for a 7-7 tie with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
Union County defensive end Devonte Wood forced a Woodruff fumble that was recovered by Jackets’ linebacker Damion Jeter but a safety on the following play resulted in two Woodruff points.
The Wolverines added seven more with a 57-yard touchdown pass to Rutledge and a successful PAT gave Woodruff a 16-7 advantage.
A minute into the second quarter, Green booted a 41-yard field goal for a 19-7 lead that Union County sliced into with an 80-yard Jones touchdown reception.
Woodruff struck again with 7:50 left in the half to take a 25-14 lead but Union County defensive end Jamarcus Henderson blocked the extra point.
The Jackets closed in once again with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Chris Booker but Woodruff pulled away with two scores courtesy of its highly touted junior receiver, Blake Bone and carried a 39-21 lead into intermission.
The Wolverines drove in a touchdown early in the third quarter to extend their lead to 46-21 with the successful PAT but Union County battled back.
Smith struck again with his second 80-yard touchdown pass of the night, this time to Victor Ruth, and followed up with a two point conversion to Kalay Jones for the 46-29 score.
Woodruff took advantage of a Union County turnover late in the period and tacked on a 21-yard field goal before adding a touchdown from a yard out, padding its lead at 56-29.
Smith hit Ruth for a 38-yard Union County TD pass that Jones capped off with a two-point-conversion but Woodruff’s offense could not be contained and its fourth score of the half resulted in the 63-37 victory.
“We missed some plays that we shouldn’t have,” said Taneyhill after the game. “We’ve been road warriors up until now and we should’ve done better here tonight.”
Sports Editor Tiffany Grady-Hudgins can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 17, or by email at email@example.com.