Union County’s plan to topple 4-A powerhouse Gaffney was nearly brought to fruition last Friday night when, after falling behind, 21-7 in the second half, the Yellow Jackets began to battle.
With 1:25 left in regulation, Union County found its rhythm on offense and used less than 60 seconds to knot the game at 21-21.
Quarterback Keiston Smith scored on a 17-yard run to pull the Yellow Jackets to within a score, but the extra point was blocked to make it 21-13.
A successful onside kick on the ensuing play sent the Union County offense back onto field and three plays later, Smith connected with receiver Kalay Jones for a touchdown. The Jackets needed two to tie and Smith ran a draw play to get the job done with a under a minute left on the clock.
However, Gaffney tailback JoJo McGill spoiled the Union County come-from-behind win.
A 35-yard kick off return put the Indians on the Jackets’ 15 yard line where McGill found a gap and sprinted to the end zone just before time expired for the 28-21 final.
Coach Steve Taneyhill said it was back to work on Monday for his Yellow Jackets.
“We must continue to improve on special teams and the O-line needs to get better quick. We played pretty good defense minus about four drives, but Gaffney was physically stronger than us and that was apparent throughout the game. But we’re gonna get back to work and I’m looking forward to Greer.”
Senior defensive back Derek Goode led the Union County defense in Friday night with 12 tackles, an interception and two tackles for loss. Linebacker Damion Jeter contributed nine tackles with one for loss and junior end Jamarcus Henderson tallied six tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
The Jackets’ offense rushed for 137 yards, with 105 coming by way of Smith who also passed for 245 yards.
Wideout Chris Booker pulled down seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Kalay Jones followed with seven catches for 82 yards and a score.
Victor Ruth picked up 37 yards on six receptions and T.J. Foster added an 18-yard catch.
On Friday night, Union County will host Greer in a battle of the Yellow Jackets. See Thursday’s edition of The Union Daily Times for a glimpse of what to expect.