Nobody in the 40-year history of Iowa high school play-offs at the UNI-Dome has run for as many yards as Isaiah Vaughan did on Saturday.
The senior Union running back scored on runs of 67, 75, 58, 56 and 1 yards and ended the night with a UNI-Dome record of 397 yards on 36 attempts, an 11 yard-per-carry average, as the Knights defeated Mount Vernon, 49-28.
There was one basic rule of thumb for Saturday’s game: When the score was close, a big run by Vaughan gave the Knights the edge.
With the score tied at 0 in the first quarter, Vaughan’s first run from the Knight 33 put Union ahead for good. Dakota Hora continued his string of successful PAT kicks and the Knights led by seven.
Union maintained that lead into the second quarter, when junior Koby Alpers made two huge plays, returning a punt 52 yards for a TD, and shortly later, intercepting a Mustang pass that a receiver bobbled for 39 yards and another TD. Hora’s kick gave the Knights a 21-0 lead.
But Mount Vernon never quit; the Mustangs, in fact, out-gained the Knights in total yardage, 528 to 514. The Mustangs threw the ball 30 times, with 19 completions for 382 yards. Their first score came on a 10-yard TD pass in the second, and the Knights went into halftime with a 21-7 advantage.
Both teams scored twice in the third quarter. Vaughan wrapped up a long Union drive with a 1-yard run; Hora’s kick made the lead 21.
But Mustang QB Jack Cochrane scored on the first of his two TD runs to cut the lead to 21-14; the Mustangs also scored first in the final quarter, on another Cochrane run. The Union lead stood at just a touchdown, 28-21.
But on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Vaughan raced 75 yards for his third TD. Hora’s kick gave the Knights a 35-21 lead. Union’s next drive ended in similar fashion, with Vaughan scoring from 58 yards for a 42-21 advantage.
After Mount Vernon’s last score, a 14-yard TD pass, another big run by Vaughan, this one 56 yards, made the score 49-28.
After the game, Vaughan embraced each of the linemen, thanking them for the huge holes they made in the Mustang defense. According to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, Vaughan’s performance is the best ever at the UNI-Dome, and ties him for 18th overall in all of the decades they have kept rushing records (regular and post-season).
See complete stats HERE
See game photos on the Union Today Facebook page HERE.
See a highlight video from the IHSAA page below
Coach’s summary from Joe Hadachek:
The Union Knights struck first and last. The defense created five turnovers versus the Mt. Vernon scoring machine. Isaiah Vaughan erupted for 397 yards and five touchdowns behind a line that opened up holes all night long.