Union trips No. 2 Cascade in final seconds, 22-14

Knights face Williamsburg in a 2A semifinal

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CASCADE — Union Community filled the fourth quarter with clutch plays.

And Marc Mahood capped it with a clutch kick.

Mahood drilled the go-ahead 30-yard field goal with 4 seconds left, and ninth-ranked Union upended No. 2 Cascade, 22-14, in a Class 2A football quarterfinal Friday night at O’Meara Field.

“It was just players making plays for us,” Knights Coach Joe Hadachek said. “It was a dog-gone good football game.”

One of the two wild-card teams in the 2A playoff field, Union (8-3) meets the other — Williamsburg (9-2) — in a semfinal at 7:06 p.m. next Saturday at the UNI-Dome. Williamsburg tripped No. 3 Mount Vernon, 24-14, Friday.

Union scored all 22 of its points in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 14-13, the Knights got the ball with 1:38 left at their own 40. They converted third-and-9, third-and-10 and third-and-9 to keep the drive alive.

On second-and-10, Hadachek summoned Mahood, who wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence.

“I was thinking, ‘What if I miss this,’” he said. “We lose a lot of good guys. I didn’t want to miss it.”

Instead ...

“I just took my steps and it went through.”

That made it 16-14, leaving Cascade (10-1) with a final prayer on the ensuing kickoff. The multiple-lateral play went backwards, and Union’s Kaleb Roach fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown as time expired.

Until the final quarter, Cascade’s defense was the story. The Cougars held the Knights to 72 yards through the first three periods and entered the last 12 minutes with a 7-0 lead. However, the Cougars came up empty on four of their five trips in the red zone, and that ultimately cost them.

“At halftime, we all had our heads down,” said Union quarterback Troy Hanus, who finished with 227 passing yards. “But we were only seven points down. We were still in it.”

Hanus connected with Tate Hookham for a 48-yard bomb down the middle of the field to the Cascade 1, then Hanus scored on a sneak to tie it, 7-7, with 11:37 left.

Cascade answered three plays later, when Colby Holmes got loose on the right side for a 77-yard TD on third-and-16. That made it 14-7.

Then it was Hanus to Koby Alpers for a 9-yard touchdown on fourth and goal to bring the Knights within 14-13 with 4:12 left. The Cougars snuffed out a run attempt on the two-point try.

Both of the Knights first two touchdown drives were extended by fourth-down completions by Hanus. Clutch, clutch. clutch.

Union was out of timeouts, but kicked it deep for a touchback. Cascade got one first down, then had to punt it away.

“I trusted our defense to finish the game, but (Union) just made plays. Credit to them,” Cascade Coach Tim Frake said. “It’s not fun to lose, but it was a fun game to play in.”

The vast majority of the first half was played on Union’s end of the field. Cascade enjoyed a 180-51 advantage in yards, but only 7-0 where it mattered. Haris Hoffman’s 1-yard QB sneak was the lone tally before intermission.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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