Battered, beaten, but not broken, the Union Titans showed they still have the players to win a big game.
Coming off their first loss in almost two years and with a bunch of first-time starters in the lineup, Titans responded with the perfect team effort for a 21-20 non-league win Friday over No. 7 Chiawana of Pasco.
“That’s a very good team,” Union coach Rory Rosenbach said. “They’ll finish 8-1. You watch.”
The Titans started junior Alex Gehrmann at quarterback after starter CJ Jordan was on concussion protocol. Gehrmann completed 20 of 32 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns.
“There are a bunch of injuries, and we’re still recovering from them,” senior Aidan Hoyt said. “But the young guys, like Gehrmann today, he stepped up. And Jake Bowen and Marques Cantu. Everyone stepped up today.”
Gehrmann’s second touchdown pass of the night to Bowen gave the Titans a 21-14 lead in the third quarter.
Chiawana would respond with a 73-yard touchdown pass play from JP Zamora to Dion Lee early in the fourth quarter.
But when the Riverhawks’ extra-point kick went wide, the Union defense made the one-point advantage stand up.
“It was just like last year’s defense when we played Puyallup (in the playoffs) and our defense came up clutch,” Hoyt said. “So we were just screaming at each other. We were like ‘the louder we are, the more intimidating we’re going to be.’ We’re like ‘we have to play like we did against Puyallup.’ Just be loud, be mean, and we came up in the clutch.”
And when the defense gave the ball to the offense, the Titans ate up the final six minutes and six seconds of the game clock, driving the ball 49 yards on seven plays — the last one being a 6-yard reception on fourth down by Tobias Merriweather to seal the win.
“They bring a lot of pressure, so our offensive line did a great job,” Gehrmann said. “That’s a really good team. Some big dudes, and they play aggressive. So (the line) did a great job of stepping up.”
- On third-and-7 for Chiawana from the Union 44, Aidan Hoyt came up with a big interception to give the Titans the ball at their own 25 leading 21-20 with 6:06 left.
- The Union defense twice turned the Riverhawks away on downs inside the Titans’ own 5-yard line. The first came on Chiawana’s opening drive with a tackle at the 1. The second came in the third quarter on a stop at the 4.
- Isaiah Jones was the workhorse for Union, rushing for 145 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown.
- Junior Jake Bowen caught four passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
“In 20 years, there are very few games in which I was more proud of our guys. Just because of all the new guys who were making their first starts, and guys who had to play out of position and move to a new spot. Young sophomores. Sophomore Joel Lee getting his first start on the O-line going up against a really good defensive line. They all did what we hoped they would do.”
— Union coach Rory Rosenbach
UNION 21, CHIAWANA 20
Chiawana 7 0 7 6—20
Union 7 0 14 0—21
U — Isaiah Jones 32 run (Sonny Pitts kick)
C — Gabe Schilz 7 run (Evan Dawes kick)
U — Jake Bowen 68 pass from Alex Gehrmann (Pitts kick)
C — Dion Lee 27 pass from JP Zamora (Dawes kick)
U — Bowen 18 pass from Gehrmann (Pitts kick)
C — Lee 73 pass from Zamora (kick failed)
RUSHING — Chiawana: Schilz 26-116, Zamora 3-1, Riley Cissne 2-(-4); Union: I. Jones 29-145; Gehrmann 4-(-10), team 2-(-10).
PASSING — Chiawana: Zaomora 12-21-2-203; Union: Gehrmann 20-32-1-304.
RECEIVING — Chiawana: Lee 4-124, Cameron Breier 4-29, Kobe Young 2-39, Preston Vine 1-2, Cissne 1-9; Union: Bowen 4-121, Tobias Merriweather 5-89, Daron Ulrich 4-53, Marques Cantu 3-15, Vinh Luong 2-16, I. Jones 2-10.