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East Union will tell you there is one play that they run successfully, and that’s what the Urchins turned to the most in a 70-54 win over New Site on Thursday.
“Basically, the play we ran the most was the counter, and we were able to get through every time,” senior running back Broderick Montgomery said. “If we missed it once, it was because of a missed block, but we would come back and get that missed block, so offense was the key tonight.”
Montgomery accounted for four of the Urchins’ 10 touchdowns in the win, the first of which a 66-yard run to tie the game at eight in the first quarter after a two-point conversion. That preceded a fumble on the ensuing kickoff for the Royals, and East Union took the lead on a pass from D.J. Armstrong to Vadale Rucker.
New Site tied the game at the end of the first, but Rucker scored his second touchdown early in the second, giving East Union the six-point advantage, 22-16.
Armstrong hooked up with Rucker once more on an 87-yard pass, but the Royals kept it close, cutting the Urchins’ lead to four, 28-24, midway through the second quarter. Each team scored once more before the half with East Union leading 36-30.
“At halftime, Coach Duley talked to us, and we just had to start mixing things up,” Rucker said of the defensive effort. “It helped us, and we were able to pull out and get the win.”
The third quarter had only one score, a run from Montgomery, making it 42-30 going into the fourth quarter. The final 12 minutes saw 52 points scored between the two teams, with the Royals making it a four-point game twice, before the Urchins outscored New Site 20-8 to close the game.
“They played very well tonight, and they played hard,” East Union head coach Scott Duley said. “We matched up well against New Site’s defense, and we were able to move the ball tonight, but that’s not always going to be the case, and you have to be able to play good defense. We have a lot of work to do.”
While Duley is pleased with the win, he emphasized the work needed on defense going into the Urchins’ final two games of the season.
“We’ve been working for weeks now on tackling, but tonight, we did poorly. They probably had 200 to 250 yards after contact, and our next two opponents are very good football teams, and we have to keep working on that,” he said. “A lot of that comes down to not discipline or execution, because we’re getting in the right place, but just concentration. They can get in position to make the tackle, but don’t know how to finish the play. That’s up to us as coaches to keep working with them on that. I’m very proud that we won the game tonight, but we must play better on defense.”
Montgomery and Armstrong each had four touchdowns for the Urchins in the win. Rucker accounted for three (one rush, two receiving), and Blake Spruill had a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“Any time you score 70 points, your offensive line is doing a great job,” Duley said. “Dontrell Lattimore does a great job at tight end, Nickie Grezler, Nathan Reed, Will Taylor at center, Blake Graham, Blake Spruill and Evan Bullock, all of those guys are doing a great job blocking. Blake also got a big touchdown for us tonight, so I’m very proud of him, and I’m proud of all of the boys.”
East Union’s two remaining games are against Potts Camp (5-1) and McLaurin (6-1). The Urchins will host the Cardinals next week at BNA Bank Park.
“We have two tough games coming up,” Armstrong said. “We’ve never beat Potts Camp and have never played McLaurin, so we want to come out, fight hard and get those wins to close the season.”
But after an evening where the offense took center stage, the Urchins are happy with this win and being at 4-3 on the season.
“It’s a big relief, because they scored right off the bat, and the intensity level went down, but we turned it around,” Montgomery said. “A win is great, but it’s even better on senior night.”