Morristown- Union Local is riding high after a 39-15 victory over invading Wintersville Indian Creek on Friday. With the win, the Jets improve to 3-1, while Indian Creek stumbles to 1-3.
Union Local used it high powered offense and overall great team speed to light the scoreboard up for 25 first half points.
The offense was triggered by quarterback Jordan Barbina. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder was doing it with his arm and legs. The ever improving junior rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries and was 9-of-13 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters.
Barbina ended the night with four rushing TDs.
“We preached all week that we couldn’t give up the big play,” Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor said. “We did give up the big play, and they scored in bunches.They didn’t show us anything different, but we just couldn’t stop their team speed.”
Union Local head coach Mark Cisar knows his team isn’t going to play smash mouth, so the key is finding a way to get the ball to his athletes.
“We aren’t going to line it up and run the ball down anybody’s throat, so we have to spread the opposition out and utilize our athletes,” Cisar said. “We have good athletes on the outside and a real nice one (Barbina) in the backfield.”
The game got started with Union Local forcing Indian Creek to turn the ball over on downs. The Jets then quickly went to work on offense.
Barbina busted off a 19-yard run on a quarterback draw on the second play from scrimmage, and later hit senior Zach Azallion on 13-yard pass. The signal caller finished the drive off with a 2-yard scoring run with 5:10 remaining in the opening chapter. The point after was no good.
The visitors had the pigskin for less than two minutes before Zach Gust intercepted a Doren Thomas aerial on a halfback pass.
The Jets needed to just one minute and 25 seconds to reach pay dirt for a second time. Barbina ripped off a 13-yard run followed by back-to-back completions to senior speedster Zach Gust of eight and seven yards respectively. Following a personal foul on the Redskins and an incompletion, Barbina finished off the march with a 40-yard explosion for the TD. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score 12-0 in favor of the home team with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
Indian Creek started its next possession on its own 21-yard line. The Red and Yellow put together a nice drive that resulted in three first downs, but the march sputtered following a sack by senior Lewis Dunn of Creek quarterback senior Mike Wilson. The Skins turned the ball over on downs once again.
Union Local needed just five plays to cover 65 yards in one minute and 15 seconds to put up its third score. Barbina connected with senior Cory Carpenter on third down and 10 for a 25-yard gain. Two plays later Barbina scooped up an errant snap out of the shotgun and rolled left. The elusive junior found classmate Kyle Blackman running behind the secondary. The pass never made the 6-foot-4 Blackman break stride en route to a 39-yard TD. The two-point try failed resulting in an 18-0 score.
Indian Creek answered. The Redskins chewed up over four minutes of clock using nine plays to cover 70 yards. The drive featured three big pass completions. Wilson delivered back-to-back passes to senior Mike Smith of 13 and five yards, respectively, and later a 34-yard connection to junior Daniel Dunlevy set up super sophomore Doren Thomas’ four-yard plunge. Sophomore Brandon Mathieu’s point after was good.
However, the celebration wasn’t long lasting as Union Local answered the answer. The Red and White used a personal foul penalty on the kickoff to start at the Creek 42-yard line. Barbina quickly got things started with a 16-yard burst followed by an 11-yard completion to Blackman and a 9-yard connection with Gust. Two plays later Barbina ran into the end zone from three yards out for his third rushing score of the half. Freshman Adam Kyer’s kick was good and Union Local led 25-7 at the half.
Union Local eventually led 39-7.
For the game, Union Local racked up 127 yards on the ground on 20 carries. Barbina led the way with nine carries for 106 yards and four touchdowns.
The home squad amassed 275 yards through the air with Barbina completing 16 of 22 aerials for 187 yards and a TD. He was intercepted once.
Blackman led the receivers with four catches for 150 yards and two scores. Carpenter and Gust each hauled in four passes for 56 and 40, yards, respectively.
Wilson led the Indian Creek rushing attack with 70 yards and a TD on 12 carries. Thomas contributed 48 yards and a TD on 14 carries before leaving the game with an unknown injury. In all, Creek rushed for 147 yards on 41 tries.
“They are going to get their yards on the ground, but we stopped them when we needed to,” Cisar stated. “We did a nice job of jumping out to a big lead, and taking them out of their game early. However, we still have some things we need to work out on both sides of the ball.”
Wilson was efficient through the air completing 10-of-14 passes for 110 yards.
Union Local will now get ready for a showdown with Martins Ferry (4-0) next week in Morristown.
“We are going to find out what we are made of next week,” Cisar said. “Martins Ferry is on a roll and they are an excellent team. They are going to come in here and run the ball, and we will see where we are as a program. This is another playoff-type game for us.”
Indian Creek will play host to Rayland Buckeye Local (1-3).