'Inside the Huddle' - Comeback for the Ages: Knights Rally in Final 7 Minutes, Win 34-33 over Waukon

POW's for Waukon game:
Offense: Chase Hansen-OL, Andrew Osuna-RB, Mitch Dierks-WR
Defense: Josh Clark-DL, Tanner Heckt-DL, Will Crees-LB
Special teams: Brian Dunkelberger
Scout team POW's: Alex Bear, Aaron Haas, Nic Peters

By Cheyne Reiter

Following Friday night's epic finish that saw Union score three touchdowns in the final six minutes, KCRG reporter K.J. Pilcher summed up his experience at La Porte City on his Twitter account.

"The Union-Waukon football game has to be the most thrilling game I have ever covered."

Boy, was it ever.

The Union Knights 5-1 (3-0) shocked the previously undefeated Waukon Indians 5-1 (3-1) in the closing minutes, thanks to an opportunistic defense and special teams that recovered fumbles when the Knights needed them most.

However, it was a slow start that nearly cost the Knights.

Waukon halfback Marcus Weymiller took the first play from scrimmage and sprinted 80 yards for a touchdown, giving the Indians a 7-0 lead.

The Knights answered with a field goal by Brady Petersen and trailed 7-3 after one quarter of play.

The second quarter saw Waukon's Parker Hesse score on a 45-yard TD run before Jay Scheel scored from 11 yards out. Union's successful two-point conversion by Trev Hadachek provided the 14-11 halftime score.

Scoring in the second half came in bunches.

Outside of another Petersen field goal that knotted the game at 14-all early in the third quarter, it was Waukon's offense that provided the highlights for the first 18 minutes of the second half.

Weymiller duplicated his 80-yard touchdown run with another 80 yarder that electrified the Waukon crowd, giving them a 21-14 lead. Weymiller would add a 9-yard TD carry before the end of the third quarter. Waukon, 27. Union, 14.

Waukon added to their commanding lead with another Hesse touchdown from 31 yards out and with just seven minutes remaining, led by a comfortable 19 points.

However, Union made Waukon and the rest of Class 2A aware of one thing.

No lead is safe.

Union punted away midway through the fourth quarter and a muffed catch was recovered by the Knights. The Knights' offense capitalized on the excellent field position as sophomore Max Thomsen punched his way across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown. The missed PAT resulted in the Knights trailing by just 13 points.

With momentum hanging in the balance, the Union defense forced a fumble and once again, the Knights came up with the recovery deep in Waukon territory.

Andrew Osuna got into the scoring act as he plowed through the Indians' defense on a 1-yard carry, pulling the Knights within six points, 33-27.

The defense continued to do their part.

Union forced a three-and-out, giving the offense a shot to take an improbable lead.

Quarterback scrambles by the elusive Scheel drove the Knights inside the Waukon five yard line with under a minute remaining. The game-winning touchdown followed as Scheel rolled left and drilled a perfect pass into the waiting hands of Mitchell Dierks.

With the score tied at 33-33, Petersen's PAT was the deciding factor. He drilled the extra point and Union prevailed as Waukon drove down the field into Union territory before running out of time.

Twenty points by the Knights in the final seven minutes proved to be the difference. The Union defense allowed 415 yards of total offense to the Indians with 363 coming from the ground game but refused to lay down in the final minutes.

As for the offense, it was a very uncharacteristic game for the potent Knights attack. Despite setting a school-record with 26 first downs and running 80 plays to Waukon's 41, the final score could easily be flipped.

The usually error-free Scheel had his share of miscues on offense, turning the ball over five times. The standout junior completed just 9-of-25 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown to Dierks, along with being intercepted three times. However, Scheel added a touchdown via his legs, racking up 163 well-earned rushing yards. Halfback Andrew Osuna provided an additional 118 yards on 23 carries.

The turnover-prone Knights survived in an instant classic, a game that will be remembered for years to come.

At 5-1 overall and atop 2A District 3, the Knights play at home versus Hampton-Dumont 2-4 (1-3) this coming Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.