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Knights pull through against Nevada 23-20 on senior night

October 18, 2018
Dysart Reporter

The Union Knights recognized 21 football seniors as well as other seniors in fall activities for senior night on Friday, Oct. 12, pulling away with a win over the Nevada Cubs in the final quarter of the competitive District matchup 23-20.

The Cubs struck first with a 28-yard pass into the endzone in the first quarter, but were unable to get the two point and maintained a shaky lead well into the second quarter. Brayden Grosse went off for a 20-yard run and two-point play to put Union up 8-6 heading into halftime.

"They used great ball control with their throw game in their first drive for eight minutes," coach Joe Hadachek said. "That would keep us off balance even though we got a good number of hits on the quarterback."

Article Photos

Union football seniors and their mothers. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hookham.

A sluggish third quarter kept both teams out of the endzone before a big fourth quarter opened with Nevada scoring early on a 12-yard pass play to retake the lead once again. Grosse continued his strong night as Dylan Felderman connected with him for a 22 yard pass and another two-point conversion by the junior to go up 16-14. As the game began to wind down, Grosse seemingly put the game to bed with a 20-yard run and extra point by Ben Dvorak with 1:25 left to go. Nevada proved they weren't done as they scored late on a hitch and pitch play to close the game to one score with 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Grosse's special night kept the Knights on top to win 23-20.

"We just keep expanding our Brayden packages and will install as much as he can handle," Hadachek said. "So far he has handled it all. He can catch the ball, run the ball, be a wise decision maker at quarterback and run our two point play system. Making good decisions is a key and that is something that he just 'gets it.'"

Roach led the Union offense with 135 yards rushing on 29 carries, followed by Grosse with 107 yards on 11 carries and two touchdown as well as a 22-yard reception for another score. Quarterback Dylan Felderman went four of seven for fourty yards, but Hadachek doesn't believe the stats tell all on his game against Nevada.

"Felderman had one of his better games in the grade out department," Hadachek said. "He did a great job with his fakes, took command of the plays called and did a good job with clock management. We're very happy with Dylan. The cool thing is Dylan knows his role and so does Brayden. they get the TeamMe philosophy this program is built upon."

Bryce Parker has 14 yards on two receptions. On defense, Levi Gray had seven tackles and Parker with six tackles. Grosse and Carter Asmussen each had an interception for the Knights.

"Defense stepped up when they had to," Hadachek said. "Kyle Gross got some good pressure on quarterback while Rempe and Albertsen continue to put pressure on the passing game on our opponents and sometimes it does not show up in the stats. Offensively, we ran the ball due to the conditions on the game field more than normal. We utilized roach running behind our oline, and used Brayden Grosse when we needed a boost. Brayden has become a great threat in more ways than one."

For 21 seniors, this was their last regular season game at Union Stadium. Members of the class have seen the Knights make two consecutive trips to the UNI Dome for the State Quarterfinals, and the same destination is on their mind.

"The seniors still have their legacy to live out," Hadachek said. "Probably their greatest asset is they all get along. There is a unity among them. For the most part they have paid the price to have the success of two dome runs and now this season which is yet to be determined. I would hope they are thinking big and planning to play right into the dome, as a new season begins in there."

Hadachek also praised his four students managers for being "nothing short of awesome and they are all outstanding for doing the little things right daily."

The regular season will come to an end with Union (4-0 District) traveling to West Marshall (3-1 District) for what essentially can be seen as a District championship game. The Trojans last week had their first district loss at Benton Community, making the District race all the more interesting. A win for Union would give the Knights the District 7 title and a playoff berth. A loss would result in a three-way tie between Benton, Union and West Marshall. Kick off will be at 7:30 p.m.

"This game allows us to have the opportunity to control our destiny right now," Hadachek said. "We have an opportunity to win a district title outright and only three Union teams have accomplished that. One Union team had a co-district championship, so that's pretty special. "It also would give us a great shot at a home game. We are just focusing on have a good week of practice and the preparation will show up on the field."

According to the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) RPI for Week 8, Union is ranked at number 10, with a District title giving them an automatic playoff berth along with the nine other District champions. The playoff system then takes the next six best teams based off the RPI system. This small margin of error for Union in order to make the playoffs under the new system this season.

"Our word of the week is grit," Hadachek said. "That is what they have to show this week. The grind of the season is beyond the half way mark. Now you look at being real precise on the little things and still need to keep tempo in practice. It's a delicate balance. The good thing is we have been here before and know what to do. The key is continuing to get better. That's not only players. It's coaches too, heck, our fans need to get better. Who doesn't want to get better if you are chasing being a champion?"

According to the IHSAA, postseason qualifications will be released in two waves after all Week 9 games are complete. First, a complete list of playoff qualifers will be released for each class by midnight. District champions and at-large qualifiers will be noted. Brackets for first round games pairings and eventual quarterfinal matches for each class will be released "as soon as possible" Saturday morning. Semi-finals will see teams reseeded. Updates will be posted on the IHSAA website and on Twitter (@IHSAA) as soon as they are completed. Follow The Dysart Reporter on Twitter (@dysart_reporter) and Facebook (The Dysart Reporter) for announcements on the 2018 postseason.



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