Loss means no margin for error — if Unionville is to return to state playoffs
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The look in Connor Gades’ eyes told the whole story. Crouched on the field following the loss of his Unionville football team to Coatesville, 21-17, Saturday, the senior quarterback was heartbroken.
Gades led his Indians on a spirited comeback against the Red Raiders after finding themselves down in a 21-7 in the first half — although they got close, twice, late they couldn’t close the deal. The loss means a very tough road for Unionville (2-3) to make another postseason appearance.
“We have to win out,” said Unionville head coach Pat Clark. “We have to go 7-3, win out and see what happens.”
Coatesville ripped up the Indians’ defense in the first half, marching up and down the field behind the powerful running of Dae-hon Cheung, who rushed for 100 yards. Manny Stocker, Coatesville’s quarterback, while ineffective un the run, was able to get the ball downfield through the air in the first half.
“We dug ourselves kind of a hole early,” Clark said. “We weren’t ready, offensive mistakes, defensive mistakes, special teams mistakes. I guess that shows I’ve got to make sure we’re a little better prepared.”
By the time Unionville found its bearings, it trailed 14-0. Mounting a solid drive, the Indians climbed back into the game in the second quarter, capped by a four-yard scoring run by Mason Popham. But the Red Raiders weren’t done and marched right back down the field, with Cheung scoring to put them back out front 21-7 with just 41 second left in the first half.
It was at that point that Gades rose to the occasion. He connected on three straight passes, moving his team 42 yards in a matter of seconds, setting up a Norb Sax 40-yard field goal as time expired in the half — leaving the score 21-10.
The second half was a different story. Unionville was finally able to shut down Cheung and Stocker — but it couldn’t get the ball moving on the ground.
“they’re good, they’re athletic,” Clark said of Coatesville’s defense. “Their two inside guys gave us fits. We found some things on the edge and off tackle, but they made it tough for us to run the ball inside today.”
That meant Gades had to continue to find ways to get it done — and he did.
He hit Rich Kaiser with a 58-yard touchdown pass in the opening minutes of the third quarter — and that got the Indians going, or so it seemed. Unionville got drive moving again, but the rugged Coatesville defense always seemed to find a way to make a stop when was needed. The game ended when a Gades pass was knocked away by Coatesville’s Shawn Brannon.
The Indians face Oxford, Friday night. Although Oxford has been struggling, the Hornets are coming off their first win of the season — and the game figures to be crucial for Unionville’s playoff hopes.