BY RICK REED
News-Gazette Sports Editor
Hagerstown's entered Friday's game at Union City equipped with am experienced quarterback who has passed for nearly 3,000 career yards. Union City countered with a quarterback who has never taken a snap.
The result was somewhat predictable, a convincing 55-20 Tri-Eastern Conference victory for the Tigers.
The visiting Tigers made themselves very comfortable with the end zone in in the first half, rolling up 48 unanswered points, before the Indians could find any success of their own.
Trendon Spence, Union City's gifted running back who was thrust into playing quarterback for the first time, finally managed to break through Hagerstown's defense late in the second quarter, eluding Hagerstown's first wave and galloping 72 yards to put the Indians on the scoreboard.
Of course it was much too late if the Indians' had any hopes of winning, but it certainly gave the faithful an opportunity to rise to their feet and make some noise. And after Spence's big run, the Indians certainly seem to play with more confidence.
After a scoreless third quarter, Union City scored twice over the final 15 minutes and the defense peformed significantly better, allowing the Tigers to score just one time.
"Obviously we were in a difficult situation without Jayson, who is not only out quarterback, but also is our unter and kicks extra points, Union City coach Keith Maloy said. "But our guys never gave up and played great in the second half."
Connor, sidelined with a concussion in the Monroe Central game, is on schedule to return this week against Knightstown. He is clearly the catalyst of Union City's offense, which is productive with Connor, Spence's ability to run the football, and Quincy Middaugh as a top calibre receiver.
Defensively, however, the Indians continue to struggle, although the unit did perform better in the second half against the Tigers. In three games, the Indians have surrendered 144 points, which amounts to 48 points a game.
Maloy insists the Indians will continue to fill gaps and get it figured out.
"We have to ride with what we've got and get back to playing old-school football," he said. "We just need to get a few pieces figured out, and I think we will."
The Indians have also been untimely for some costly penalties over the first three games.
Trendon Spence carried he bulk of Union City's load against Hagerstown. He finished with 125 yards rushing on 19 carries with a a pair of touchdowns. He was just 2 for 9 through the air, but those 2 went for 100 yards, both to Middaugh, one a 70-yarder.
Alec Spence has come through with some big plays at times this season and had another one Friday by reeling in a conversion pass from freshman Logan Besser. He also carried three times for 17 yards. Jace O'Connor also scored a touchdown for the Indians.
Middaugh led Union City with five tackles with Xavier Hill, Oscar Renya and Trendon Spence contriuting four tackles apiece. Jace O'Conner had a tackle for a loss.
The Indians (0-3, 0-2 in the TEC) return to action Friday at Knightstown. The Panthers are coming off an impressive 55-0 over Union County.
Score by quarters
Hagerstown 28 20 0 7 55
Union City 0 6 0 14 20
TIGERS – Ervin – 8-12-186 (4 TDs);
INDIANS – T. Spence 2-9-100; Besser 1-1-3.
TIGERS – Ervin 2-17; Bergr 5-51; Lieberman 1-3; Beaty 3-73; King 9-80; Schmitz 3-17. Totals 23-241.
INDIANS Huggins 3-0; A. Spence 3-17; O'Connor 6-12; T. Spence 18-125. Totals 30-154.
TIGERS – Kendall 1-30; Berger 2-22; Schmitz 1-33; Kelley 2-32; Golliher 1-69. Totals 7-186.
INDIANS – MIddaugh 2-100; A. Spence 1-3. Totals 3-103.