KENT — Gabe Rego was right where he was supposed to be, all night long.
So was Bryson Page
So were Matt Reeves, Cory Buendicho, Kevin Grimsted, Tanner Nelson, Brandon Brody-Heim and just about every other guy who played defense Friday night for the Union Titans.
The Titans held a previously undefeated team that had scored more than 40 points per game to 46 yards of offense in the first half of their Class 4A state playoff game. Union continued to rule in the second half and rolled into the quarterfinals with a 31-7 victory over Kentlake.
“We’re living the journey,” said Rego, who had two touchdowns. “It’s all a journey, and we kept it rolling.”
The Falcons (10-1) were ranked sixth in the Seattle Times’ Top 10.
The unranked Titans (9-2), though, are moving on to Week 12. Union will travel next week to face the winner of Saturday’s Woodinville-Bethel game.
Trent Cowan had a special night on special teams, and Brandon Brody-Heim and Rego combined for 286 yards rushing to lead the Titans on the scoreboard.
No matter how many points the Titans scored, Union coach Cale Piland said this victory was led by the defense.
Page had back-to-back tackles for loss in the early going and another sack on fourth down later in the game. Rego had two interceptions — one to keep the game scoreless in the first quarter, and the other that he brought back to house for a 24-0 lead.
All those other names listed above had significant plays on defense.
Kentlake’s leading rusher this season, Tanner Lucas, was held to 16 yards. The Falcons finished with 182 yards, but much of it coming in garbage time.
“Honestly, the truth is we just have been working together,” Page said. “Every one of us is working together.”
Shutting down an undefeated team just might get Union some attention, too.
“It means that we can win state. It means we can do whatever we want,” Page said.
Piland likes that attitude. His Titans could go on a magical run.
“It’s another week of improvement. We’re a team that’s just getting healthy toward the end of the year,” Piland said. “We don’t know what our potential is. That’s kind of fun.”
Cowan had an impressive first half, booming a punt that just kept rolling, going for 78 yards. Later, he got the Titans on the board with a short field goal. And late in the half, he took off on a fake punt and ran 48 yards to the end zone to make it 10-0.
The Titans had a fourth-and-one play and the coaches shouted a code word that allowed Cowan to make the choice.
“I scanned the defense, and I thought it was going to be open,” Cowan said.
He chose wisely, going to the right side. He ran untouched for the first TD of the game.
That was plenty for the Union defense.
The Falcons had four offensive snaps in the second quarter. The defense forced a three-and-out, and the Union offensive line controlled the trenches, allowing Union to control the clock.
“We’ve been saying all week we can compete with anyone,” left tackle Phil Westphal said. “We saw on the game film that they were physical. We wanted to be more physical. That’s what we did.”
The third quarter looked a lot like the second quarter.
A third-down sack from Brody-Heim forced a Kentlake punt. The next play, Rego was gone on a 59-yard touchdown run to make it 17-0.
“I gotta give credit to the O-line. The O-line blocks. We just have to find the holes that they make,” Rego said.
He found his own way to the end zone for Union’s next TD, picking off a Kentlake pass and returning it 69 yards for a 24-0 lead.
Brody-Heim completed the Union scoring with another big play, a 56-yard TD run. Brody-Heim finished with 144 yards on 25 carries. Rego had 142 yards on 18 carries.
Kentlake got on the board in the closing minutes of the game, but by then the Titans were already planning a trip to the quarterfinals.
“This feels great,” Cowan said. “We beat Tahoma (last week). No slouch. We had all the confidence in the world. We thought we could get the W here, and we did.”
UNION 31, KENTLAKE 7
Union 0 10 7 14–31
Kentlake 0 0 0 7–7
U — Trent Cowan 21 FG
U — Cowan 48 run (Cowan kick)
U — Gabe Rego 59 run (Cowan kick)
U — Rego 69 interception return (Cowan kick)
U — Brandon Brody-Heim 56 run (Cowan kick)
K — Nu’U Vaifale 10 run (Mitchell Habryle kick)
RUSHING — Union — Brody-Heim 25-144, Rego 18-142, Cowan 1-48, A.J. Anderson 1-11, Tanner Nelson 2-(-6). Team 3-(-5). Kentlake: Stephon Vaifale 13-71, Caleb Saulo 8-27, Tanner Lucas 5-16, Darryl Parker 1-13, N. Vaifale 2-12, Steffin Church 5-(-16).
PASSING — Union — Kaben Humphrey-Butler 2-5-0-10. Kentlake: Church 3-5-0-30, Saulo 3-9-2-29.
RECEIVING — Union — Anderson 1-5, Brody-Heim 1-5. Kentlake: N. Vaifale 2-33, Austin Pernell 3-14, Andre Marticio 1-12.