Tonight (Week 5) marks the half-way point for the 2016 high school football season in Iowa. For Union, Week 5 means Homecoming, vs. Dyersville Beckman.
Union, 3-1, is 2-0 in Class 2A District 4. After losing to Marion, 47-22 in Week 1, the Knights have won big three weeks in a row, outscoring VS, Marion and Monticello by a combined score of 142-14.
Union, however, will be playing what coach Joe Hadachek calls “nail-biter” games over the next few weeks. The Knights host Dysersville Beckman (2-2, 1-1 in Class 2A District 4) before traveling to Waterloo Columbus next week. The Knights’ schedule also includes undefeated Western Dubuque and 3-1 Waukon, which lost to WD 25-20 last week.
Hadachek said the Knights began the season very low on experience, with 20 of 25 positions (the 11 offense and defense positions, plus kicker, punter and long-snapper) being filled by first-time starters. While he said Marion (2-2) is a team with a great quarterback (Blair Brooks, the grandson of the late sports broadcasting legend, Bob Brooks), Hadachek said the experience his young starters have gained and the team’s improvement indicates that if they played Marion again, it would be a “better game.”
Union senior Koby Alpers leads the Knights with 11 TDs, including nine receptions and two rushing touchdowns. Alpers had to sit out last year’s championship game loss to Boyden Hull-Rock Valley with an injury. He said it was tough watching the loss, and not being able to help with the Union pass attack or pass defense.
Hadachek says Union missed Alpers during that title game, saying he could have made a difference in some of the big plays in Union’s 41-22 loss to BH/RV.
Union QB Troy Hanus has thrown for 12 TDs and0 0 interceptions, and has a QB rating of 219.1. Kaleb Roach leads the Union rushing game with 6TDs, and 387 total yards on 53 attempts, an average of 7.3 yards per carry.
But it’s the Union defense that has shown the most improvement from Week 1. After giving up 47 points and allowing Marion to score on rushes of 68 and 33 yards and passes of 68 and 67 yards, the Knights have just given up one score in the past three games. They have recorded 15 individual tackles for loss and 16 assists in that category.
There are fewer than 20 teams in Iowa that have made the playoffs for the past nine years; Union hopes to make it 10 in a row this season.
“That’s our goal every year,” says Hadachek.
See the Union individual stat page HERE.
See photos of Union’s Homecoming festivities (Powder Puff and Homecoming King Coronation) HERE.
Other area teams:
Vinton-Shellsburg is 0-4 heading into its Class 3A District 5 contest at South Tama (2-2) tonight. Injuries to several key players have plagued VS througout the season.
Benton Community is 2-2 (0-2 in district games). They travel to undefeated Waverly-Shell Rock tonight.
Center Point-Urbana, is 3-1 on the season, and 1-1 in Class 3A District 4 games. They host Clear Creek Amana (1-3) tonight.
Belle Plaine (3-1) is 2-0 in Class A District 5 action. They host North Tama tonight.