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Originally posted August 31, 2012
Union's Justin Silmon (right) is tangled up by Jenks' Steven Parker on Friday night during the Backyard Bowl. Silmon scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Union over Jenks 14-7!
Redskins roll on
BY BARRY LEWIS Tulsa World Sports Writer
(Reprinted with Permission. This is not an endorsement)
In Friday night's season-opening MidFirst Backyard Bowl, Dalton Rodriguez and his Union defensive teammates picked up where they left off at the end of last season that ended with a fourth consecutive Class 6A state football title.
Rodriguez made several key plays, including a fumble recovery that set up Justin Silmon's winning 5-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left, to lift the top-ranked Redskins past No. 3 Jenks 14-7 before an estimated 15,000 fans at Chapman Stadium.
Union's defense carried it through the playoffs last year, stopping late drives in each of its final three wins that were decided by one point each. Rodriguez's strong pass rushing late last season made him one of the state's top college recruits, and he has committed to the University of Oklahoma.
"We talk quite a bit to our kids that big-time players make big plays," Union coach Kirk Fridrich said of Rodriguez. "When we had to have a pressure or sack or a turnover, Dalton was there."
His biggest play of a night that included two sacks came midway through the fourth quarter with Jenks pinned at its 5, Trey'Vonne Barr'e fumbled a bad handoff from quarterback Kyle Alexander, who stumbled on the play. Rodriguez fell on the loose ball at the 5. It was reminiscent of last year's state title game when Union linebacker Coleby Evans returned a fumbled bad handoff 30 yards for the winning TD late in the fourth quarter against Broken Arrow.
"I was going to pick it up and score, but I didn't want to risk me fumbling," Rodriguez said. "We were trying to get a turnover and when we get a chance for one, we've got to get it."
On the next play, tailback Silmon scored on a 5-yard run around right end. Silmon, a junior in his first varsity start, had 17 carries for 93 yards.
"I was pretty happy they gave it to me then, I wanted to get it right in the end zone," Silmon said. "We had been going to the outside a lot and been successful, so as soon as I heard it, I knew it would be a good play."
On Jenks' ensuing possession, the Redskins stopped the Trojans without a first down, and then Union's offense picked up two first downs to seal a fourth consecutive victory over Jenks in the rivalry.
"When we need a stop, we get it," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez helped keep the game tied at 7 when Jenks was threatening to take the lead late in the third quarter. His strong rush on Alexander forced an incomplete pass that was followed by a missed 31-yard field goal.
Jenks missed several other opportunities to break the tie that had lasted since late in the first quarter. The Trojans lost three fumbles, including two that ended scoring chances. Early in the fourth quarter, Alexander fumbled a snap after a lengthy injury timeout, and Union's Sam Blankenship recovered at the Redskins 8.
"It's certainly frustrating," Jenks coach Allan Trimble said. "I was really proud of the kids' effort, but unfortunately when you're playing against a good football team you can't make that many unforced errors. I am really, really proud of our defense. We kept them out of the end zone except for that 5-yard drive at the end."
The Trojans' defense nearly posted a shutout as Union's other TD came on Khalid Kornegay's 85-yard kickoff return with 3:45 left in the first period.
Kornegay's return came right after Barr'e opened the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown dash. Barr'e finished with 129 yards on 21 carries. The Trojans' 7-0 lead, however, lasted only 13 seconds.
For the next 2 1/2 quarters, the teams exchanged punts and each had a missed field goal as both defenses dominated for the first time in this usually high-scoring rivalry since Jenks' 9-6 win in the 2006 Backyard Bowl. So perhaps it was fitting that a defensive player set up the winning points.
"You never know what's going to happen - it's crazy to say it, but that's the way it is," Fridrich said. " 'Expect the unexpected' is probably as close as you can get to put a title on the MidFirst Backyard Bowl."
Union's Jeffery Mead (left) fights for the ball with Jenks' Austin Casillas during the Backyard Bowl on Friday night at TU's Chapman Stadium. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Union players hoist the Backyard Bowl trophy after Friday's game. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Union 14, Union 7
J: Barr'e 45 run (Donley kick)
U: Kornegay 85 kickoff return (Butler kick)
U: Silmon 5 run (Butler kick)
Trojans' mistakes cause frustration
BY ZAK PATTERSON Tulsa World Sports Writer
(Reprinted with Permission. This is not an endorsement.)
Though Class 6A No. 3 Jenks lost to rival and top-ranked Union 14-7 on Friday night, the score could easily have been different.
Costly turnovers and missed opportunities doomed the Trojans.
After a 45-yard touchdown run by Jenks tailback Trey'Vonne Barr'e put his team up 7-0 with 3:58 remaining in the first quarter, it turned into a game of turnovers and mistakes for the Trojans, according to coach Allan Trimble.
Immediately following the TD run, Union cornerback Khalid Kornegay took the kickoff and returned it 85 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
"Those are mistakes that you cannot make against a really good team," Trimble said.
The game remained tied until the fourth quarter, but not for a lack of opportunities.
Late in the third quarter, Jenks defensive back Braden Calip picked off Union quarterback Hunter Atyia, setting up the Trojans inside Union territory. Jenks moved the ball inside the Union 10, but the drive ended with a missed field goal.
In the fourth quarter, things continued to get away from Jenks.
With the game still tied with 9:19 remaining, Jenks fumbled a snap at Union's 9, stopping a potential tie-breaking drive.
On the Trojans' next possession, a fumbled handoff by Barr'e gave the Redskins the ball at the Jenks 5. Union was up 14-7 one play later.
"We played with good effort," said Trimble, whose team lost to Union for the fourth consecutive time. "Our defense played tremendously. We bent a little bit but we didn't break. We kept them out of the end zone really well except for their 5-yard drive. We punted the ball well, there were a lot of positives.
"It's very frustrating when you come and have the ball at the 9-yard line and you turn it over. All of the mistakes are correctable, and it's early in the season."
Union's Justin Silmon gives Redskins a lift in the backfield
BY BARRY LEWIS Tulsa World Sports Writer
Monday, September 03, 2012
9/3/2012 5:18:43 AM
Go to Barry Lewis' BlogOriginal Print Headline: Silmon gives Union a lift in backfield
Justin Silmon's first varsity start for Union could not have gone much better on Friday.
Silmon, a junior tailback, rushed for 93 yards and scored the winning touchdown with 5:47 left to propel the Redskins past Jenks 14-7 in the season-opening MidFirst Backyard Bowl at Chapman Stadium.
"I've seen the Backyard Bowl so many times it was so great to actually live it," Silmon said. "Even before the game, I couldn't believe that I was playing in it. I was remembering when I used to watch it from the stands with my facepaint on and now I am on the field."
And scoring the decisive TD capped his memorable night.
"Hearing everyone yelling my name, it was a real thrill," Silmon said.
Silmon averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
"It was real tough," Silmon said. "My offensive line kept pushing me and never lost faith in me, so I was just trying to grind with the line."
Silmon admitted he had some butterflies before the game.
"Oh, yes," Silmon said. "I was focused, but at the start there were a little bit of nerves. The first drive I felt I was a little shaky, but after that I just knew I had to man up and just play. And play every snap like it's practice."
Silmon had 12 carries for 58 yards as a sophomore, and his only previous career touchdown came in a 51-14 victory at Ponca City last Oct. 14.
"I really like the way he has matured and continues to run extremely tough," Union coach Kirk Fridrich said. "He does a great job protecting the football. His greatest asset is his balance. I am really proud of the way he's developed."
The Redskins remain the No. 1 team in the Tulsa World's Class 6A rankings and will play at 8 p.m. Saturday against Euless Trinity (Texas) at Pennington Field in Bedford, Texas, in a matchup of top-20 teams from USA Today's preseason national rankings.
"I'm excited about the game," Silmon said. "I know it's going to be a tough game. It's like a Backyard Bowl. I feel like I'll come into with less nerves and I can play pretty good again."
The Union-Euless Trinity game follows third-ranked Jenks playing DeSoto (Texas) at 4 p.m.
Smooth opener for Cards: Third-ranked 5A East Central gave Bobby Klinck a victory in his debut as a high school head coach, 53-31, at Del City on Friday night.
Sophomore quarterback Trevon Cherry completed 15-of-28 passes for 334 yards and four TDs for the Cardinals.
"I can't believe we threw as much as we did," Klinck said.
East Central's William Goree had 19 rushes for 63 yards.
"He made a lot of that on his own," Klinck said.
Brendan Ennis led the Cardinals' defense with two interceptions, while Kimmee Carson and Josh Herman had seven tackles apiece.
Klinck was more nervous about the logistics of traveling than he was about coaching the game.
"Everything went smoothly; it was a flawless trip," Klinck said.
East Central visits Bartlesville (1-0) on Friday.
Payne wins coaching debut: Jarvis Payne Sr. was a winner in his high school head coaching debut as McLain rolled past Oklahoma City Northeast 58-12 on Friday.
For Payne there was a different feeling before the game than when he was an assistant.
"You feel like there's more responsibility on you," Payne said. "Everyone really did their job."
McLain had a balanced offensive attack. Bishop Louie had four carries for 136 yards and two TDs. Demetri Walker had seven rushes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Jaelen Bledsoe had a 64-yard TD run. Nigel Carter added a 92-yard TD kickoff return.
"We really played as a team," said Payne, whose Titans host Sperry (1-0) on Friday.
Locust Grove prevails: Mason Fine's 15-yard touchdown pass to Cameron McIntyre with 3:33 left gave Locust Grove a 22-17 victory over Salina on Thursday. It was the first game as Locust Grove coach for Matt Hennesy, who was formerly at Muskogee. Colton Witt had 13 rushes for 125 yards and a clinching interception for the Pirates.
Notes: Pryor's Carson Smallwood had 21 carries for 231 yards and scored four TDs, plus had an interception on defense in a 31-28 overtime loss to 4A No. 8 Catoosa on Friday. ...
Berryhill sophomore linebacker Chad Dillard had nine carries for 65 yards and a TD, plus seven tackles and an interception in the 3A No. 2 Chiefs' 20-14 win over 4A No. 10 Glenpool on Friday. ...
With Devon Thomas sidelined, sophomore tailback Warren Leak saw more action than expected and gave 6A No. 2 Broken Arrow a lift in a 19-17 win at 6A No. 5 Owasso on Friday. Leak, in a backup role behind Cameron Wrenn, had 14 rushes for 79 yards. ...
Collinsville's Hunter West had 13 rushes for 104 yards and two TDs plus seven tackles in a 36-12 win over Skiatook on Friday. ...
Caney Valley had a big comeback as it rallied past Barnsdall 35-32 on Friday. Caney Valley erased a 26-7 halftime deficit with four straight TDs with the winning points coming on Jacob Mackey's 45-yard punt return. ...
A missed 20-yard field goal in the final moments cost Metro Christian in a 27-24 loss to Oklahoma Christian. ...
Cascia Hall moves up from No. 4 to No. 1 in the 4A rankings after the top three teams in the preseason rankings lost their openers. ...
Warner defeated Chouteau 40-0 and Class A No. 1 Wayne beat Healdton 53-13 on Friday. The winners of those games were initially reported incorrectly.
Preps by the Numbers: All football teams are asked to participate in the Tulsa World's Preps by the Numbers that are updated daily at tulsaworld.com and published every Tuesday. Each coach has been assigned a password that can be used to enter statistics on the World's website. For questions on passwords and instructions on how to submit statistics, contact Barry Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 918-581-8393.