LAKEWOOD — They say lightning never strikes the same place twice. University of Washington coach Chris Petersen might start thinking otherwise. The Huskies general was scouting at Harry E. Lang Stadium on Thursday and was quickly in store for a flashback to Saturday’s 20-19 lightning-delayed loss to California in Pacific-12 play.
With 4A defending champion Union leading 2A Steilacoom 13-0 in the first quarter, a bolt flashed in the distance. Teams were sent to the lockers and 96 minutes later, the game resumed. Union went on to win 41-13 and run their win streak to 16 games.
“I just told (Petersen): ‘Why are you here? You’re messing things up,’” Union coach Rory Rosenbach said. “You hope that they’re going to respond the way they did. I’ve never had this happen in 20 years. I was proud of the way they figured it out.”
Aidan Hoyt had three interceptions, and the Titans forced five turnovers, including three in the red zone. Steilacoom’s five-star recruit Emeka Egbuka was limited to 68 first-half yards and finished with nine catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. He also had a punt-return for a score.
“I know he’s the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation or something,” Hoyt said. “I’ve been preparing for this since I knew we were going to play Steilacoom. I just balled my hardest today. It ended up really good.”
Offensively for the Titans, CJ Jordan found Marques Cantu, Kellen Milliken, Tobias Merriweather and Jack Eggleston for touchdown throws. Jordan finished 12-24 for 234 yards. Isaiah Jones ran 16 times for 113 yards and two scores.
The game was never in doubt for the Titans, who led from start to finish to make a statement over a 2A state contender.
“It was really fun to watch this game,” Rosenbach said.
— On fourth-and-long, Marques Cantu caught a screen pass from CJ Jordan and shook off a pair of would-be Steilacoom tacklers before rumbling in for a 27-yard score to give Union a 6-0 first-quarter lead. It capped an eight-play, 58-yard drive. “There’s a lot going on when you’re out there on the field,” Cantu said. “I saw the coach give the signal for the play, and was just like, ‘This is my time.”
— Steilacoom receiver Isaiah Devane was hustling toward the pylon after catching a pass from Chance McDonald looking for the Sentinels’ opening score in the first quarter. Union’s Logan Wilson had other ideas as he tracked down the standout pass-catcher and knocked the ball loose from behind. Tyler Summers recovered at the Union 2-yard line and returned it to Sentinel territory.
— With Steilacoom trying to avoid a first-half shutout, Aidan Hoyt preserved Union’s 27-0 halftime lead with a red-zone interception of Chance McDonald with 2 seconds left.
Marques Cantu: The Titan sophomore had four catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Aidan Hoyt: This is the senior cornerback’s breakout game, as he helped hold a star-studded Sentinel receiving corps to 259 yards. His three interceptions came in key moments, including two in the red zone and a diving snag on the sideline.
Levi Harms: The junior lineman had a key sack for the Titans near the end of the first half that helped set up Hoyt’s first interception.
“Baller. Just straight baller.” — Union coach Rory Rosenbach on defensive back Aidan Hoyt’s three-interception night.
UNION 41, STEILACOOM 13
Union 13 14 7 7 — 41
Steilacoom 0 0 7 6 — 13
U — Marques Cantu 27 pass from CJ Jordan (pass fail)
U — Isaiah Jones 1 run (Sonny Pitts kick)
U — Kellen Milliken 9 pass from Jordan (kick fail)
U — Tobias Merriweather 17 pass from Jordan (Jordan run)
U — Jones 23 run (Jackson Plieth kick)
S — Emeka Egbuka 34 punt return (Graig Padgett kick)
U — Jack Eggleston 14 pass from Jordan (Plieth kick)
S — Egbuka 18 pass from Chance McDonald (kick fail)
RUSHING — Union: Isaiah Jones 16-113, Julius Jones 6-23, CJ Jordan 11-40, Alex Gehmann 2-(-13), Vinh Luong 3-17. Steilacoom: Emeka Egbuka 2-1, Logan Brady 6-56, Chance McDonald 6-(-2), Rasun Williams 9-47.
PASSING — Union: CJ Jordan 12-24-0-234, Alex Gehmann 1-5-0-32. Steilacoom: Chance McDonald 21-39-3-259.
RECEIVING — Union: Maliki Campbell 1-0, Tobias Merriweather 2-44, Jack Eggleston 2-54, Kellen Milliken 1-9, Jake Bowen 2-64, Tyler Summers 1-10. Steilacoom: Jayden Coalsen 1-6, Emeka Egbuka 9-126, Tre Horner 1-(-7), Logan Brady 1-1, Isaiah Devane 8-132, Rasun Willliams 1-1.