'Inside the Huddle' - Union shocks ADM-Adel in 42-28 Shootout; Advances to 3A Title Game

By Cheyne Reiter

The Union Knights continue to impress. Throw out the stats, throw out the rankings, throw out the undefeated records; this team is for real.

And fun to watch.

The three-headed monster of Jay Scheel, Trev Hadachek, and Wes Burnside put on another highlight-reel performance in the 42-28 victory, making multiple plays that would deserve ESPN Top 10 recognition.

Five scoring plays of 57 yards or more proved to be too much for ADM-Adel to handle.

Entering the game against what seemed to be the most prolific offense in all of 3A, Knight fans expected a grind-it-out approach to keep the Tiger attack off the field.

That certainly wasn't the case.

After the Knights forced a three-and-out by the Tigers on their opening possession, Union took control inside their own 35-yard line. A couple rushes by Burnside failed to accumulate much yardage, so Union dug deep into their playbook. The call? A wheel route out of the backfield by Burnside up the Union sideline...wide open.

The rest is history. Union was off to the races.

The 62-yard pitch-and-catch from Scheel to Burnside gave the Knights a 6-0 lead after placekicker Brady Petersen had the PAT blocked.

On the Tigers following possession, the Knights bent, but did not break. The first three plays of the drive resulted in three first downs, and the Tiger offense seemed to be hitting its stride. Inside the Knight 35-yard line, SR QB Gavin Glenn locked in to his intended target but underthrew the receiver, and Shay Fehl made him pay with an interception.

The Knights second drive did feature the grind-it-out approach as a series of carries by All-State RB Wes Burnside paid dividends. Eventually, the Knights would gain a 14-point cushion following a 2-yard plunge by Burnside and successful two-point conversion pass to Brad Gallup.

ADM-Adel fans were in shock. 12-0. A perfect season slipping away right before their eyes.

Gavin Glenn and Co. finally found an answer.

The ensuing 11-play drive was capped off with a 4th-and-6 completion to an unmarked Jordan Grove, making the score 14-7 in the second quarter. The teams continued to trade touchdowns for the rest of the night.

While Glenn silenced the Knights crowd and momentum with the 6-yard strike, Scheel quickly ignited the crowd, swinging "Big Mo" back in the Knights favor. After avoiding would-be-tacklers, Scheel connected with Hadachek on a post route down the middle. From 30 yards out, one Tiger defender stood between Hadachek and the goal line.

A step to the left, a head shake to the right, a shoulder fake to the left, and a burst to the right left the ADM-Adel defender lying on the turf. The 57-yard score gave Union another 14-point lead, only to see the Tigers storm right back.

The Tigers answered the Knights big-play ability with another efficient drive. Faced with a long 3rd-and-goal from the Knights 17, Glenn found receiver Lucas Thompson behind Hadachek near the back pylon for the 17-yard TD pass, pulling the Tigers within seven at halftime, 21-14.

A thrilling first half left fans wanting more, and boy oh boy, they got just that.

On the Knights opening possession of the third quarter, Jay Scheel was at it again, this time using his legs. Those in attendance at last week's 21-13 victory over Maquoketa know Scheel's capabilities of breaking off the big one, but sometimes are still left speechless following the stunning carries he reels off.

This particular carry may have been Scheel's best one yet.

Faced with a 3rd-and-13 from his own 18-yard line, Scheel dropped back to pass. Instead, a small crease opened and Scheel exploited it. A couple jukes avoided the first two tacklers, and a spin move capped off the jaw-dropping run. Scheel was wrapped up multiple times, but the 155 pound sophomore was able to slip free up the Union sideline for the 82-yard score.

It was deafening on the Union sideline. Meanwhile, the Tiger fans sat in disbelief. Union 28, ADM-Adel 14.

However, the Tigers clawed their way right back. ADM-Adel attacked the Knight defense with a bruising ground game, gashing the Knights down the field. Another 4th-and-goal by ADM-Adel awaited, and a fade route to Lane Hovey worked wonders. The SR WR out-jumped Union cornerback Brenden Kuhn for the 11-yard score, pulling back within 7, 28-21.

The Knights gave another opportunity to Wes Burnside, and he made the most of it. The stingy Tiger defense had limited Burnside on the ground up until late in the third quarter, but Burnside busted off a vintage "Wes Express" run, trampling an ADM-Adel defender on his way to an 82-yard TD burst. The fake field goal attempt was swatted away by a Tiger defender making the score 34-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

Once again, the Tigers had an answer on offense. Glenn moved the Tigers quickly down the field, eluding Knight tacklers and turning broken plays into big gains. ADM-Adel drove inside the Knight 10-yard line, but Union locked down Glenn until fourth down. With Knights' fans on their feet, Glenn silenced them. A 5-yard pop-pass over the middle to Jared Grove pulled the Tigers within six, 34-28.

Union countered with a dagger. On a 2nd-and-15 deep inside Knight territory, Scheel rolled left, looked downfield, and aired out a beautiful pass to a wide-open Brad Gallup. Seventy yards later, the Knights found themselves up 42-28 after the two-point pass was completed to Hadachek.

Finally, the Knight defense shut the door on any hopes of a Tiger comeback. Glenn was intercepted on back-to-back possessions by Hadachek, sealing the Knights spot in the championship game.

To put the high-powered offenses in perspective, the two teams combined for 892 total yards; Union with 514 and ADM-Adel with 378.

The Knights shredded the No. 1 overall defense in 3A, shown by the Knights only punting a total of two times. Burnside racked up 162 yards on 27 carries for two touchdowns and added a 62-yard reception for a score as well. The experienced Jay Scheel completed 10-of-15 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns, connecting on scoring strikes of 57, 62, and 70 yards. Hadachek led the receiving category with seven receptions for 117 yards and a score, consistently beating double-team coverage down the field.

Unlike Maquoketa limiting 2/3 of the three-headed monster, the Tigers had no answer for any of Union's offensive stalwarts.

Defensively, the Knights shut down Gavin Glenn for the most part. Glenn completed just 14-of-33 passes for 142 yards. Although he threw for four scores, three interceptions (two by Hadachek, one by Fehl) proved costly. Thanks to Dylan McLaughlin's team-high 13 tackles (10 U, 3 A, 2 TFL) and Kyle Ansley swarming the Tiger attack (6 U, 4 A, 1 TFL), the Knights find themselves one win away from a historic title.

With the win, Union advances to play Decorah in the 3A championship game at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. The game will be a rematch between the two as Union (11-2) hosted Decorah (11-2) in week one of the regular season and won 20-17 in a fourth quarter come-from-behind victory. Decorah won the other 3A semi-final matchup with a convincing 35-14 win over Harlan.