Union County (Lake Butler) used multiple weapons in its ground attack to run through visiting Newberry Friday night in a game that was ended early.
The contest that was abruptly stopped with 11 seconds left in the third quarter when a man on Newberry’s sideline was ejected from the stadium, refused to leave and had to be detained by law enforcement.
“That was strange,” Union County head coach Andrew Thomas about the way the contest ended.
But what wasn’t strange was how the Tigers continued its perfect season, improving to 9-0 behind a multi-faceted ground attack that included three touchdowns from junior running back Dayviontae “Bubba” Thompson.
“We’ve got a deep backfield,” Thomas said. “Bubba Thompson, he hadn’t run the ball much since early in the season and not that he can’t, he just plays defense, but we ran a few plays off tackle and he ripped a few real tough. He’s scary out there, a kid that size.”
Union County kicked off to open the contest, but a high, short kick was mishandled by Newberry (5-4) and recovered by the Tigers’ Thomas Williams at the Newberry 32-yard line. Thompson burst through for a 25-yard touchdown run two plays later.
A Newberry would punt on its next possession and Union County scored again on a pass from midfield to wide receiver Daylyn Diston. On the Panthers’ next offensive play, Diston would intercept a pass, leading to Thompson scoring on a 2-yard TD for a 21-0 lead with 3:18 left in the opening quarter.
Newberry would get on the board when quarterback Trae Butler hooked up on a short pass to Perrion Sylvester, who outraced the Tigers for a 44-yard score.
“They’re a pretty decent football team,” Thomas said of Newberry. “But our kids were ready to play. We didn’t turn the ball over and that’s been a key for us. When we don’t turn the ball over we’re pretty tough.”
“Defensively, we’ve got to eliminate big plays,” Thomas said. “They scored on that one big play and then we shortened the field for them on that last [Newberry score]. But overall we got after them.”
The second quarter remained scoreless until Union County’s Johnathan Edwards kicked a 28-yard field goal with five second left in the half for a 24-7 advantage.
The Tigers scored on their opening possession behind Thompson’s third touchdown run.
Newberry running back Keenon Johnson broke off a 27-yard touchdown on 4th-and-2 to close the gap to 31-13 after the two-point conversion went incomplete.
On Union County’s next offensive play, Rayvon Durant burst through the line for a 75-yard score. Durant would add a second touchdown on a 38-yard run for the 45-13 edge before the game ended.
Next Friday, Union County travels to Cocoa Beach (1-8) while Newberry hosts South Sumter.
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