BY RICK REED
News-Gazette Sports Editor
PARKER CITY, Ind. – Monroe Central High School's football team bounced back Friday night with a much-needed win Friday night against visiting Union City as the host Bears utilized a plethora of offensive weapons to turn back an improved Union City team that can't seem to catch a break.
Jeremiah Ullom scored three touchdowns for the Bears, who pulled away in the second quarter and eventually walked off the field with a convincing 43-22 victory.
The contest proved particularly frustrating for Union City after a decided late hit resulting in a concussion to sophomore quarterback Jayson Connor, who is expected to miss at least one week for recovery.
"It was a very important win for us coming off the loss to Winchester," said John Hochstetler, veteran coach of the Golden Bears. "Union City has some talented young players and Keith (Maloy) does such a great job with them, so I was a little worried. But I thought our guys stepped up and played really well. I was pleased with what I saw. I thought we made strides."
Maloy is clearly discouraged with the injury to his quarterback, but he remains steadfast in his belief that his Indians are on the right track. He was thankful Connor's injury was not more severe.
"We were moving the ball really well (prior to Connor's injury), but after that happened it caused us to do try and do some things that we hadn't prepared for. It was a straight helmet-to-helmet hit after he was out of bounds.
"Overall, I thought our linebackers were more physical, and Trendon (Spence) did a really nice job running the ball, so we have a lot of things to build on. There were a lot of positives."
After Connor's injury, Trendon Spence took over at quarterback and is expected to handle the duties until Connor can return.
Early on, it appeared like it would be a high-scoring affair. Dion Sloss put the Bears on the scoreboard first, but Union City quickly responded as Connor fired a 26-yard bullet to Quincy Middaugh, who made a nice running catch for a touchdown. After Trendon Spence ran in a conversion, the Indians had their only lead at 8-7.
But the Indians could not slow down the Bears, who were boosted by their home fans.
Another Sloss run completed a scoring drive by the Bears, then later on in the quarter, opportunity turned into disaster for the Indians. Wilson connected with Jeremiah Ullom on a 39-yard pass play, but Ullom fumbled. He picked up his own fumble and raced 41 yards into the end zone.
After a Union City turnover due to an interception, Wilson pushed Monroe Central's lead to 30-8 at the half with another score.
Both teams scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half. Trendon Spence bolted 49 yards for a score early in the third. Jeremiah Ullom scored from 14 yards out for Monroe Central later in the quarter and added another score in the fourth. Union City's Alex Spence had a nice 13-yard run late in the game for the final score.
Statistically, aside from six Union City turnovers, the game was much closer than the final score. Monroe Central had just one. more first down (16-15), The Indians had more in total offense (325-275), less in penalties (60-97). Both teams ran 52 plays.
Monroe Central's diverse rushing attack featured seven players with 10 or more yards, led by emerging Carter Duncan with 48 yards on 8 carries.Wilson was an efficient 8 of 11 passing for 99 yards, three to Justus Ullom for 42 yaeds.
Trendon Spence had his second straight impressive performance running the ball, gaining 174 yards on 22 attempts, just shy of eight yards a pop. Connor completed 5 of 12 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown before being injured.
Ethan Hunt had seven tackles for Monroe Central. Duncan, Justus Ullom and Peyton Farmer had interceptions for the Bears.
Bradin Daniels led the Indians with 10 tackles. Alex Spence and Kazyn Perreria recovered fumbles for the Indians. Xavier Hill had three tackles for a loss.
The Indians (0-2, 0-1 in the Tri-Eastern Conference), likely without the services of Connor, return to action next week when they host Hagerstown in a TEC game. Monroe Central (1-1, 0-0 in the Mid-Eastern Conference) travels to Class A No. 4 North Decatur. Both games are slated to kick off at 7 p.m.