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Union overwhelmed by Waukon in playoffs 40-11

November 1, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

After making the playoffs due to a three-way tie in their District, the Union Knights were unable to find success on the road against the Waukon Indians on Friday, Oct. 26, falling 40-11 against the defending 2A champions.

"We knew round one of the playoffs was the chance of everyone who made it for a new beginning," coach Joe Hadachek said. "We asked our athletes to have faith in the game plan, their teammates, and their coaches. We were willing to take some chances with our gameplan."

Waukon had not lost since the first game of the regular season and showed how they strung up a eight-game winning streak with an early touchdown and two-point play. The Knights responded with a field goal to put the score 8-3 at the 5:26 mark of the first quarter, the closest Union would find themselves. In the waning minutes of the quarter, the Indians again found the endzone to go up 16-3.

Article Photos

Dylan Felderman completes a pass to Bryce Parker. Photo by Mary Bauer, courtesy of The Progress Review.

"We were down 8-0 and then put a drive together and got inside their red zone but had miscues of a penalty and miscue on a snap," Hadachek said. "Those type of things are tough to overcome vs a good team like Waukon. We hit the field goal to make it 8-3 but that was as good as it would get. It comes down to getting them out of drives by playing sound football and continuing drives on offense."

While the Knights struggled with drives, the Indians thrived as they put together three touchdowns in the second quarter, tacking on two points with each score to put themselves up 40-3 at halftime.

"They executed extremely well on offense," Hadachek said. "They have a good system that fits their kids and they make you defend all 52 yards of width as well as the stretch of what distance it is to the end zone. Defensively, they keep it simple but are highly effective. We were hoping on more conversions to keep the clock rolling. Give them credit and combine that with us making mistakes that cost us."

During the break, no one in the locker room was ready to give up after leading Union to their 11th consecutive playoff berth, though finding themselves in too deep a hole to climb out from. The Knights kept the Indians out of the endzone for the remaining half and eventually scored one final Union touchdown off a 21-yard pass from Dylan Felderman to Silver Schmitz to end the game 40-11.

"Our goal was to come out and win the 3rd quarter," Hadachek said. "It wasn't a win as both teams didn't score but allowed us to carry that goal into the fourth. We scored on two minute offense and I was pleased we were still fighting at the end."

In their final game as Union Knights, the seniors led their team's offense, with Kaleb Roach rushing for 99 yards on 19 carries and also had one catch for 12 yards. Schmitz ended his Union football career with 56 yards on five receptions, including the final touchdown. Felderman went five of 11 passing, including a 21-yard touchdown. On defense, Kyle Gross lead with 5.5 tackles, followed by senior Ben Rempe with 4.5 tackles.

"I believe the biggest thing is how well all the kids got along on the team," Hadachek said. "I credit that to the senior class. There was great cohesion between freshmen all the way up to the seniors. Each one of the 21 has special gifts. Some are more talented on the football field, some in the classroom, some at serving in the community, and some at being a great teammate. I do know they all learned some great lessons on the practice and game field. When you have 21 guys playing their senior year, it's special."

The Knights finished their season 6-4, including 4-1 in District play to lead them into the playoffs. Overall, Union put together 3098 yards on offense (310 yard average per game), with the defense holding opponents to 2965 yards over the season (297 yard average per game).

"I thought we came in a zone after figuring some things out with our non-districts play," Hadachek said. "We were 2-2 and then started clicking as district play began. We lost Isaiah Jackson in game one and he was a two way starter and a major factor for both units on the line. Later we had a lack of leadership issue that hurt the team. That's life, you can complain about it or move forward and play with the next man in. So, that's what we did. Leadership is always a key with every team. The best teams have the best leadership. It's that simple."

Hadachek and his staff will look to new leaders next season and hope good signs from the fresh/soph and JV level will translate over into the varsity roster as the Knights seek their 12th consecutive playoffs in 2019.

"Brayden Grosse will be a leader without a doubt and I know Isaiah Jackson will be a leader by example," Hadachek said. "There are always guys that make a big jump from junior to senior years. The fact that our junior varsity team went 2-2 and freshman/sophomore team went 7-2 shows there is talent coming up."



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