'Inside the Huddle' - Union Advances to 2nd round of Playoffs with 22-15 Nail Biter

By Cheyne Reiter

As Trev Hadachek put it ever so kindly, "It's something you dream about doing."

For those unaware, the Knights won in stunning fashion over the Washington Demons in the playoff version of 'Wednesday Night Lights.' Down 15-14 with just 2:02 left on the clock, Union's season rested in the hands of the offense.

They came through.

After the ensuing kickoff, a "pooch" kick, was fair caught by the Knights at their own 41, they would need roughly 30 yards to feel comfortable in sending out the field goal unit to attempt the game winner. Little did they know, that wouldn't be necessary.

Quarterback Jay Scheel executed the two-minute offense to perfection, although a few ill-advised passes, three tipped by Demon defenders, could have led to the game ending in another opening round heart-breaker.

With 1:24 remaining, Scheel found Hadachek on a sideline hitch route, but the Demon defender was all over the intended pass. As it slipped through his fingertips, Hadachek snatched it and took off up the sideline. After eluding tacklers and burning down the sideline, the Knights would regain the lead 22-15 following the successful two-point conversion.

Hadachek would later describe the winning touchdown as crazy, resilient, and the time of his life.

After a strip sack was recovered by Union with Washington across midfield and threatening to score, it would just take one Knight kneel to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

For Knights fans, this is one that will be talked about for quite some time.

Early on, the game seemed like Union would take control and never look back.

After holding Washington to a three-and-out on their opening possession, the Knights got the ball at their own 30 and relied heavily on Burnside. Union got down to the Demon 20 before they faced a 4th and 2, but a hand-off to Burnside once again proved to be the right call. The Wes 'Express' burst to the edge, trampled one defender, and walked into the end zone to give Union a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter with the score still 7-0, the Demons drove to the Union 19 before they faced a 4th and 6. Instead of attempting the field goal, they opted to go for it. Linebacker Cole Hinders knocked down the attempted pass and Union regained possession.

On the following possession, the Knights drive stalled at midfield. As the Knights sent out their punting unit on 4th and 11, Union head coach Joe Hadachek called for a fake. Washington was ready for it and stopped Union's Trev Hadachek after picking up eight yards.

The Demons capitalized.

A 30-yard completion to Colin Steele set up the Demons inside the Union 5-yard line, and quarterback Jake Redlinger followed that up by called his own number, scampering in from three yards out to knot the score at seven all. The score would remain 7-7 for the rest of the half, a relatively low scoring affair for two offenses who can score in bunches.

Union regained the lead in the third quarter, once again feeding Burnside the ball time and time again. A 6-yard touchdown run by Burnside, his seventh consecutive carry of the 70-yard scoring drive, put the Knights up 14-7 with 4:10 remaining in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter would be a classic.

"A leadership-driven team," Joe Hadachek said, once his heart rate returned to normal levels.

Early in the fourth, the Knights faced a long 4th and 26, an obvious time to punt the ball. As Reid Monroe booted it away, the Demon returner muffed it and Union would take it in for the score, or so they thought. Illegal procedure and personal foul penalties both against Union would erase the score and set up a 4th and 46. Monroe once again punted away, this time launching it all the way down to the Washington 17 to switch the field position back in the Knights favor.

After a couple Washington and Union drives stalled out, Union found themselves up 14-7 with just over 3:30 remaining. The Demons moved the ball down the field with a vicious air attack and eventually connected on a 31-yard touchdown strike to Brock Kimball. With the score now 14-13, it was decision time for the Demon coaching staff.

A gutsy call would follow...and pay off. Out came the offense, and Redlinger found a wide-open Colin Steele in the corner of the end zone and Washington found themselves up 15-14 with 2:02 left on the clock.

As mentioned before, that's when the Knights took over.

The Scheel-to-Hadachek combo proved to be unstoppable on the final drive and carried the Knights to the second round of postseason play.

With the win, the Knights will face the defending 3A champion Solon Spartans next Monday night in Solon. Kickoff is at 7:00.