The Union Titans got the test they were seeking Friday, just not the result.
The Titans twice got within one score of O’Dea of Seattle in the third quarter, only to watch the top-ranked Irish answer on their way to a 35-17 win over Union in a non-league game Friday at McKenzie Stadium.
“That’s a really good team over there, and they have some really big human beings up front,” Union coach Rory Rosenbach said. “But I was proud of the way our guys battled. I think we just ran out of gas.”
After trailing 14-3 at halftime, Union responded in the third quarter when Tobias Merriweather took a short pass and went 66 yards for a touchdown.
That drew the Titans within 14-11 with 10:44 left in the third quarter.
But O’Dea responded with a 80-yard touchdown drive to go back up 21-11.
Union answered back with a 65-yard drive capped by Merriweather’s 12-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 21-17.
But on the first play of the fourth quarter, Ashton Llacuna pulled in a 42-yard touchdown catch against tight coverage by Merriweather to put the Irish back up 28-17.
After Union turned the ball over on downs, O’Dea sealed the victory.
Senior running back Jaydon Jones, who rushed for 58 yards and caught six passes for 36 yards, said the Titans got exactly what they wanted out of this tough season-opener, except the win.
“A really, really tough game,” Jones. “They’re a really good team. We’re just going to improve. We’re going to look at this loss like we’re learning. It’s not a loss. We’ll get better every day a look forward to Mountain View.”
O’Dea RB Jason Brown Jr. rushed for 284 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns.
Union WR Tobias Merriweather caught five passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, and he had a 12-yard touchdown run.
In his first start, Union junior quarterback Dominic Colletto completed 15 of 22 passes for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
After Sonny Pitts kicked a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter to get Union with 7-3, Brown broke free on an 80-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage.
With O’Dea driving deep into Union territory late in the second quarter, Union senior linebacker Kellen Milliken intercepted a pass in the end zone right before halftime.
“He got off to a bit a rocky start. I think maybe there were some jitters early on that led to some mistakes, particularly that interception. But that’s to be expected. It was his first full game at quarterback since the eighth grade. So I was OK with it. I felt good about it,” Rosenbach on Colletto’s debut at quarterback.
O’DEA 35, UNION 17
O’Dea 7 7 7 14—35
Union 0 3 14 0—17
O — Jason Brown Jr. 21 run (Saverio Desimone kick)
U — Sonny Pitts 33 FG
O — Brown 80 run (Desimone kick)
U — Tobias Merriweather 66 pass from Dominic Colletto (Korey Bozovic pass from Colletto)
O — Brown 22 run (Desimone kick)
O — Ashton Llacuna 42 pass from John Kohler (Desimone kick)
O — Kohler 3 run (Desimone kick)
RUSHING — O’Dea: Brown 23-284, Kohler 6-20, Kellen Shaffer 5-26, Georgios Kotsakis 6-26, Quinn White 2-9, team 2-(-4). Union: Jaydon Jones 7-58, Merriweather 1-12, Sam Wilson 1-4, Marques Cantu 1-5, Colletto 9-(-5), team 1-(-21).
PASSING — O’Dea: Kohler 8-11-1-155; Union: Colletto 15-22-1-212.
RECEIVING — O’Dea: Llacuna 3-73, Brown 2-25, White 1-8, Joe Gallagher 1-22, Clifton Mahoney 1-0. Union: Merriweather 5-142, Jones 6-36, Toby Smoot 3-19, Cantu 1-2, Bozovic 1-16, AJ Attarani 1-2.