By Gary Baker / Gatehouse News Services
After a 1-2 start, the Union City Chargers have rolled off five consecutive victories, clinching a playoff berth with a 37-0 win over Quincy on Friday.
The playoff berth comes after Union City missed the postseason last year for the first time in several seasons. The Charger defense stifled the Quincy offense, which had few options after starting quarterback Shane Rider went down with a left ankle sprain.
His status for next week against Michigan Center [parent’s night] is unclear.
“You have to give credit to coach [John] Heistan,” Union City head coach Eric Tundevold said of the Chargers’ defensive effort.
Although down, the Quincy effort was there.
“My kids played hard, they didn’t quit, and fought til’ the end. I’m proud of them,” said Quincy coach Dave Bach.
The Chargers’ first score came on a Seth Vaccaro 14-yard run, putting the Chargers up 6-0. The Orioles were unable to mount a drive and had to punt on their next possession. The Chargers went on a 75-yard drive, capped by an Adam AcMoody 1-yard touchdown. The point after was no good, making the score 12-0.
Quincy was forced into a fourth down and three and punted, but Union City’s John Powell ran into the Oriole punter, giving Quincy new life. Three plays later, Michael Brewer fumbled the pitch from backup quarterback Cyrus Raymond, and Union City’s Tyler Grossheim recovered at the Quincy 41. Five plays later, the Chargers hit paydirt, with a 25-yard score by Chris Maye. The Dakota Hoskins kick was good, putting the Chargers up 19-0, which was how the half ended.
In the third quarter, the Chargers scored right away on a three-yard dive from Vaccaro; which was set up by a 59-yard run by Caleb Dow.
The point after was no good, and the Chargers were up 25-0. After each team went three-and-out, Quincy mounted a drive, that ended with a controversial call. Cyrus Raymond went back to pass when the ball popped loose. Grossheim recovered the ball and it was awarded to the Chargers, even though the Quincy coaching staff felt Raymond was in the motion of passing the ball.
Three plays later, Maye scored on a 65-yard scamper down the east sideline, for a 31-0 lead. The point after was no good. The next Quincy drive took them inside the Charger 20, but the Union City defense forced another fumble, that was recovered by Raymond at the 33-yard line. Two pass plays from Raymond to Bobby Banker fell incomplete and the Chargers got the ball back on downs.
For Quincy (3-5, 3-4), Michael Brewer led the way with 149 yards on 28 carries. Cyrus Raymond was 5-of-12 for 41 yards passing.
Andrew Tobalske led the defense with 13 tackles. Cody McClellan added 6 tackles; Raymond, 5; and Carson Mead had 4 tackles.
The Chargers capped a seven-play drive with a 41-yard score by Zac Dowell, giving the Chargers a 37-0 lead, which is how the game would end.
Union City had 467 yards of offense on the night, with 422 yards on 42 carries. Adam AcMoody was 3-for-4 for 45 yards.
Chris Maye led with 141 yards on 11 carries and a score; Caleb Dow had 117 yards on 9 carries; Vaccaro had 76 yards on 12 carries and 2 scores; and Zac Dowell had 3 carries for 57 yards. Alex Watson had 2 catches for 32 yards.
Jory Watson led the Charger defense with 13 tackles and John Powell had 9.
The Chargers (6-2, 6-1) face Grass Lake next week, a potential playoff team.
“They are a good football team,” Tundevold said of Grass Lake. “Tonight was an important game for us, it should give us momentum. The offensive line opened up some good holes.”