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Absent Victor, Union overcomes slow start to roll Heritage 34-0

Titans rotated in four quarterbacks, including a linebacker under center

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: October 11, 2018, 10:47pm

They call him “the Dream,” but the package Union was working on was dubbed “the nightmare.”

It featured Alishawuan “Dream” Taylor, a wide receiver and linebacker, under center at quarterback, and the No. 1 Titans hoped to break it out in week 6 against Skyview.

But on Thursday, absent its starting quarterback, the nightmare became a feature of Union’s offense.

With quarterback Lincoln Victor out for precautionary reasons after a lower back strain suffered in week 6, the Titans overcame a slow start, which they said stemmed from a slow week of practice, and beat Heritage 34-0 at McKenzie Stadium on Thursday night.

“It was a couple pass plays, a couple run plays and some quarterback keeps for me and I actually liked it, it worked out pretty good,” Taylor said.

Victor went down in the first half of the Titans’ 21-15 win over Skyview last Friday. Without Victor, they did not score in the second half and their defense did enough to hold off the Storm. Though Union coach Rory Rosenbach said he could have played this week, the Titans took the cautious route with its do-it-all starter.

Taylor was under center on the first drive, and split time with backup quarterback Alexander Gehrmann through much of the first three quarters.

Similarly, Heritage started wide receiver/running back Kahai Umiamaka under center and the two offenses sputtered from the get-go.

Thursday night, the Titans appeared to struggle to find a rhythm on offense in the early going.

Union’s first touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery to the Heritage one yard line. The next play, the Titans lined up 255-pound lineman Giovanny Rojo as a back and he ran in a one-yard touchdown.

It appeared Heritage swung momentum when it pounced on a bad snap by Union at the Titan 15-yard line, but its next play, Darien Chase made a one-handed interception in the end zone and Union reclaimed possession at its own seven.

The Titans scored three plays later, completing a 93-yard drive that started with a 15-yard run from Siofele, was augmented by Taylor’s 48-yard read option keeper, and capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass – Taylor to Siofele – to put Union up 14-0.

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“It gave the sideline the energy, and gave the young guys who were going to play that energy,” Taylor said.

The Titans had a chance to add to the lead going into half, but missed a 27-yard field goal as time expired.

Any first half jitters, funk or offensive disarray was quelled quickly after halftime.

Siofele broke free for a 62-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, boosted the Titans’ cushion to three touchdowns. That lead grew.

Touchdowns of five yards (a pass from third string quarterback Ryan Rosumny to Darien Chase) and 18 yards (a powerful run by Nile Jones) solidified Union’s lead, and its defense held firm.

Before the game, both teams met at half field for a two minute moment of silence to honor the life of Mark Rego, Union’s offensive line coach who died Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Union 7 7 13 7 – 0
Heritage 0 0 0 0 – 0

First quarter
U – Giovanny Rojo 1 run (Alex Koga kick)
Second quarter
U – Jojo SIofele 30 pass from Alishawuan Taylor (Koga kick)
Third quarter
U – Siofele 62 run (Koga kick)
U – Darien Chase 5 pass from Ryan Rosumny (kick failed)
Fourth quarter
U – Nile Jones 18 run (Koga kick)

RUSHING — Union: Alishawuan Taylor 4-60, Isaiah Jones 1-(-4), Alexander Gehrmann 1-(-2), Giovanny Rojo 1-1, Jojo Siofele 3-92, Nile Jones 10-60, Pierce Henriksbo 1-14, Jake Bowen 2-69, Lamont Lane 1-5. Heritage: Leo Canteras 9-23, Jack Ha 19-43, Anthony Kee 2-0, Daniel Barrera 6-67, Kahai Umiamaka 9-(-4), Nickelson Datel 1-5.

PASSING — Union: Alishawuan Taylor 2-3-0-39, Alexander Gehrmann 4-7-1-101, Ryan Rosumny 2-4-0-6. Heritage: Kahai Umiamaka 2-3-0-0, Daniel Barrera 0-1-1-0, Jacob Zapeda 2-3-1-18.

RECEIVING — Union: Darien Chase 3-36, Jojo Siofele 2-39, Alex Vallejo 1-52, Isaiah Jones 1-(-4), Alishawuan Taylor 1-22, Nile Jones 1-1. Heritage: Anthony Kee 2-0, Leo Canteras 1-0, Jordan Oliverez 2-18.

Columbian Staff Writer