'Inside the Huddle' - Union's Repeat Hopes Dashed in Rematch with Waukon

By Cheyne Reiter

The Union Knights were defeated by the Waukon Indians Monday night, 21-14, in a rematch featuring two powerhouse, 2A District 3 programs.

In the previous matchup between the two schools, also played in La Porte City, the Knights erased a 19-point deficit in just over a six-minute span, stunning Waukon with a 34-33 victory. Union went on to claim the district crown and a No. 1 playoff seed, but revenge was on the minds of a determined Indians squad.

Prior to Monday's game, Union head coach Joe Hadachek stated simply, "It's tough to beat a good team twice."

His quote proved to be true.

The script for both teams was set as each dominated in their first round playoff games -- Union winning 63-20 over Mt. Vernon; Waukon blanking CP-U 35-0.

Unfortunately, the tale for the Knights ended on a sour note.

An impressive Waukon defense that shut out a CP-U team - one that put up 45 points against Union in week 1 - continued their dominance against the potent Knights attack.

The Knights mustered just two touchdowns in the Monday night defeat after averaging 46.6 points per game offensively in their previous ten contests. Their season-low for points scored in a game came during the 34-33 shocker of Waukon in week six.

While it was Union's offense that keyed many of their victories, the defense had been efficient as well. However, one flaw plagued the Knights in many of their wins, as well as the loss to CP-U -- their inability to prevent the "big play."

The "big play" occurred in quarter one - a 57-yard touchdown run by Cole Ewing - that set the mood for the entire night.

Waukon came to play. Revenge was on their minds.

The early score gave Waukon a 7-0 lead and that lead held for much of the first half. Union finally drove deep into Waukon territory and capitalized on an Indians' fourth-down offsides penalty. Trev Hadachek connected with Will Crees on a 12-yard touchdown strike from the "Wildcat" formation and headed to the locker room knotted, 7-7.

Halftime adjustments allowed the Knights to temporarily come to life. Union earned their first lead of the night early in the third quarter as Jay Scheel broke loose for an 18-yard score. Waukon answered as playmaker Parker Hesse took a screen-pass 28 yards and tied the game, 14-14.

The Waukon defense continued to fluster the Union offense in the fourth quarter. The Indians took the lead for good as Marcus Weymiller plunged in from three yards out, providing the final score; Waukon - 21, Union - 14.

Union did drive across the 50 into Waukon territory but turned the ball over on downs with just over three minutes remaining. Waukon's ground game churned out three first downs, preventing Union with any chance for last-second heroics.

The highlight-reel-waiting-to-happen between Union's Scheel and Hadachek were unable to escape a relentless Waukon defense. Scheel ran 13 times for 39 yards and a score, but 18 of those 39 came on the touchdown run. Hadachek did find a bit of running room - 5 carries, 41 yards; 6 receptions, 63 yards - but was consistently double- and triple-teamed all night. Waukon's game plan - shut down the dynamic duo in Scheel and Hadachek.

Unfortunately for Union, the Indians' game plan worked.

While the 21-14 defeat ended Union's hopes of repeating as state champions, a nine win season is hard to ignore. The 2012 seniors leave with the most wins in school history - 38, and also have the aforementioned state championship under their belts - the first and only football state title in school history.

Losing 23 seniors will be hard to replace, but as we've seen with Coach Hadachek before, he will find a way to reload and compete for another district title and beyond. With D1-prospect Jay Scheel calling the shots one more season at quarterback, it's hard to envision the Knights fading anytime soon.

POWs announced for Waukon, Round 2 playoff game
Players of the game:
Defense: Tanner Heckt, DL, Will Crees LB, Trev Hadachek DB
Offense: Trev Hadachek, WR and Josh Clark OL
Spec Teams: Brian Dunkelberger LS, and Brady Petersen PK/PU
Scout Team: Justin Carey, Mitchell Brandhorst, Jacob Clark