The East Union Urchins had a shaky but successful start for their football season opener against Hatley on Friday night.
Hatley trounced the Union County team last year and, with that memory in mind, the Urchins soundly beat the Tigers, 45-20, giving the school its first ever win.
East Union got off to a hot start, recovering a fumble and scoring a touchdown in the first two minutes of the game and leading 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, but penalties and substitutions would hinder the Urchins throughout the rest of game.
The Urchins scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, including a kickoff return from DJ Armstrong, but penalties forced two other touchdowns to be called back. Hatley answered with a touchdown of its own, as injuries stared piling up for the Urchins.
Head Coach Scott Duley said that conditioning was a problem for both teams.
“Half of our starters went out with cramps,” Duley said. “Yet we had other kids that had never played football in their life before tonight get in there and give it all they had.”
East Union led 33-7 at halftime and came out on fire for the second half, scoring a touchdown on the second play of the third quarter. The teams would trade a pair of touchdowns through the rest of the game, but Hatley was never able to get back in the game.
Duley said that the kids showed a lot of mental toughness, as several times they had from four to eight non-starters playing.
“We were in a position where we could have been in serious trouble in the second half because we were in such bad shape,” Duley said. “That’s my fault and that will be rectified before we play again.”
He said that the team was an improvement from last year and he hopes to keep improving, as this is still a young team.
“We were superior in special teams and offensively I thought we were much improved from last year,” Duley said. “Defensively we looked okay, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. The kids are still learning.”
East Union receives a bye next week before playing at Biggersville on August 31.
-story written by Josh Presley