Union City plays great for the first half at Knightstown
By Mike Thornburg | Sep 11, 2023 11:32 AM
BY RICK REED
News-Gazette Sports Editor
The Indians have shot themselves in the foot so many times this season that they're starting to run out of toes.
"Silly" turnovers in the second half spoiled an impressive return by sophomore Jayson Connor to the lineup as Union City's football team remained winless on the season after a 35-21 Tri-Eastern Conference loss to the hands of the Knightstown Panthers.
"Our mistakes were crazy – just silly stuff," lamented Union City coach Keith Maloy. "We had more yardage than they had in the game and dominated them in the first half. But we couldn't get our rushing game going in the second half and they controlled they clock. When you have three turnovers in the second half, that's hard to overcome."
Connor, who has missed the past two-and-a-half games after suffering a concussion, threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, but his productive return went in vain after the Indians squandered what was their best offensive half of the season.
"He was incredible," Maloy said of Connor. "We just couldn't get our rushing game going.
"I'm not always 'Mr. Positive', but there were some good things that happened. We've just got to stop making these kinds of mistakes, and we've got Northeastern coming up on Friday and they're a great football team, so we've got our work cut out for us."
Connor diced up Knightstown's secondary in the first half as he connected with Alec Spence for a 73-yard TD strike, Brayden Huggins for a 37-yard TD and another one to junior Qincy Middaugh for 28 yards. The Indians appeared well on their way to notching their first win of the season.
Disaster struck for Union City in the second half – not once – not twice – but three times, as the Indians fumbled away scoring opportunities twice inside the 10-yard line and had a punt blocked by Knightstown inside their own 10, which resulted in a Panther touchdown.
The game was knotted at 21's when Knightstown's freshman quarterback Bryor Carmichael tossed a touchdown pass to put the Panthers in front. A TD run later in the quarter provided the final score as the Indians were victimized by their own miscues.
The 21 points was the most scored in a game by Union City, and the 35 was the least allowed, but the Indians remain winless after four games. Six different receivers caught at least one pass for the Indians, with Trendon Spence and Middaugh bringing in two each. Middaugh also completed a 39-yard pass to junior Colton Emrick. Trendon Spence was the leading rusher, picking up 77 yards on 17 carries. Sophomore safety Oscar Renya led with a team-high 11 tackles.
The Indians will try for a fifth time to dent the win column Friday when they travel to Northeastern to take on the Knights. The Indians last defeated Northeastern in 2018 with an 18-12 win in double overtime.
Score by quarters
Union City 7 14 0 0
Knightstown 0 6 15 14
(0-4, 0-3 in TEC)
PASSING – Connor 8-21 for 237 yards (3 TDs); Middaugh 1-1 for 49 yards.
RUSHING – Huggins 1-(-4); Jace O'Connor 2-0; Spence 17-77.
RECEIVING – Middaugh 2-36; Huggins 1-37; A. Spence 1-73; Emrick 1-49; T. Spence 2-32.