Union Community football coach Joe Hadachek doesn’t believe in specialization.
So when a few of his Knights needed a springtime activity, Hadachek recommended one near and dear to his heart — rugby.
“I played rugby in college for eight seasons and I absolutely love the game,” Hadachek said. “I felt like, we have to have these guys involved in a competitive atmosphere.”
Union junior running back Isaiah Vaughan was one of 14 players to take Hadachek up on his suggestion, and with the help of a couple of student coaches from UNI, the Wolf Creek Knights Rugby Club was born.
“I had never played rugby in my life,” Vaughan said. “It helped a lot of us with our tackling; just safe tackling.”
On the football field, Vaughan has displayed a propensity for avoiding those tackles this season. Behind an offensive line that boasts three 300-pounders, Vaughan has run for 510 yards in his last two games to take over the rushing lead in Class 2A (585 yards).
“They’re giving me huge holes now,” said Vaughan, who rushed for 247 yards in 39 carries and four touchdowns Friday as Union earned its first win, 41-21, over Roland-Story. “They’re working hard. Everybody knows where to block now, who they’re blocking all the time, on every play.”
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder shows excellent patience as he searches for openings along the line. Once he finds it, he bursts through and can fend off would-be tacklers with a strong stiff-arm and is not afraid to lower his pads. Vaughan runs a 4.7-second 40-yard dash, a speed he’s able to maintain for all four quarters despite averaging nearly 35 carries a game.
“He’s just a guy that doesn’t slow down as the game wears into the third and fourth quarter,” Hadachek said. “He gets the same foot speed, the same physical play, him running the football, all four quarters.”
Between football season and rugby, Vaughan will rejoin the Union wrestling squad this winter, where he finished one match short of qualifying for the state tournament as a 195-pound sophomore.
Union visits South Tama (3-0) this Friday.
MID-PRAIRIE A YEAR OLDER, A YEAR STRONGER
Last year at this time, Mid-Prairie collected its first win of a 2014 season in which they finished with a losing record of 4-6.
Fast forward to now, and the ceiling has been raised for the Golden Hawks, who won their third straight game Friday, 13-0, at Louisa-Muscatine.
“I think our defense is playing lights out right now,” Mid-Prairie Coach Pete Cavanagh said. “Just really kind of coming together, playing well. Our linebacking corps, all back from last year, is playing well and tackling well so I think that’s kind of been the key early on this year.”
Senior linebacker Cameron Tolander leads Mid-Prairie with 22 1/2 tackles, while defensive lineman Levi Duwa has been a disruptive force inside, collecting four sacks through three weeks. Both were first-year starters last season.
On offense, the Golden Hawks have received good production from backfield mates Ricky Vargas (402 yards, five touchdowns) and bruiser Nolan Faselt (240 yards, three touchdowns).
Mid-Prairie (3-0) hosts West Burlington (2-1) this Friday for its homecoming game.
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