Urchins reach within and rally past Lions

Blake Spruill heads upfield with the opening kickoff against H.W. Byers during first round playoff action. East Union won 35-34. Photo by Dennis Clayton

Blake Spruill heads upfield with the opening kickoff against H.W. Byers during first round playoff action. East Union won 35-34. Photo by Dennis Clayton


by Dennis Clayton
Coach Scott Duley’s East Union Urchins showed their grit, determination and heart as they rallied from a 34-21 deficit and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to win 35-34. Coach Duley said “They (Urchins) played an amazing game. They didn’t quit, we just played a team that was more athletic than us and our defense never quit and our offense never quit. I can’t say enough about our players because they were the ones telling me that we can do this, we can do this.”
And they did it. The Urchins hung around despite four turnovers and were helped themselves by a fourth down gamble by Byers. Facing a fourth and four at their own 19, the Lions lined up in punt formation with a less than three minutes remaining. Instead of punting, the Lions attempted a fake on a short running play which was snuffed out by the Urchin defense resulting in East Union taking over on downs. East Union took possession with 2:12 left and the score standing at 34-29. East Union drove 18 yards in four plays, with Blake Spruill rushing every play. Spruill capped the red zone drive with a 3-yard touchdown with 0:29 left to put the Urchins on top for good at 35-34.
Unofficially, Spruill had 205 yards on 38 carries with three touchdowns, 2-two point coversions and one PAT. Quarterback D.J. Armstrong was 5-10 passing for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown passes were to Lane Plunk who recorded three catches for 75 yards.
Coach Duley said “We’ve got some things we need to clean up on offense with the four turnovers, three of those were on miscommunicated calls and I have to share responsibility in that, but I’m really proud of our young men, really proud of our program.”
East Union will host Eupora next Friday night. Eupora defeated South Delta 34-14.
More on the East Union win, plus a preview of the East Union/Eupora match-up in Thursday’s News Exchange.

About Dennis Clayton

I cover high school sports in Union County and occasionally contribute sports articles to sister community newspapers of Journal Inc. Follow me on Twitter: @denclayton for scores and updates on our local high school teams.