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Taking on one of the most physical opponents they will face this season, Union County had an impressive showing, despite falling 20-0 to Byhalia Thursday night.
The Indians struck with 7:38 remaining in the first half, as Vadale Rucker had the ball stripped from him, and Byhalia returned the turnover for their first score.
Ahead only 8-0, the Indians scored two late touchdowns in the game to go on for the win.
“They were shutting out Byhalia until the very end,” UC head coach Scott Duley said of his defense. “We were giving them an extremely short field and they were just lobbing it up. The defense continues to play extremely well. Coach Smithey is doing a great job coordinating the defense, and we’re going to take a lot away from this, both offensively and defensively.”
UC’s best opportunity for a score came at the five-yard line in the second half, but the Indians’ defense held up for four straight plays, causing the turnover on downs.
“We didn’t execute as well on offense as we should have,” Duley said. “We had some open plays; one receiver open all night. We dropped the ball all night, but offensively, we had some good things happen. We moved the ball, but we had problems in the red zone, punching it in. They’re going to learn how to finish drives, not just have drives down to the 10 and five-yard lines. I’m proud of them and their effort.”
Now at 4-2, Union County will play one more game, and probably the biggest of the year, when they take on New Albany at Kitchens’ Field Monday night. The focus now turns to the in-county showdown.
“I told them tonight that we’ve learned how to win like men, now we have to learn how to lose like men,” Duley said. “The biggest thing for these men is to come back to work tomorrow, not to allow this to dampen their spirits, but that the game of football is one to build your character sometimes because you lose.”