Union, Rolison set school record in season opener over Beckman
August 31, 2018


Union football started their 2018 season off strong with a 26-13 non-district win over Beckman Catholic and setting a new school record on Friday, Aug. 24 at home.

The Knights were quick on offense to start the first quarter, scoring on their opening drive on 4th and 1 with Brayden Grosse running in for the first touchdown. The Union defense got their workload in with the short possession. Beckman favored the middle running plays that helped the slowly creep up the field to the end of the first quarter. As the second quarter began and the Blazers threatened to score, the Knights were able to make a stop and get the ball back on their one own yard line. Senior quarterback Dylan Felderman delivered a perfect pass down the middle to receiver Britt Rolison for a 99 yard pass play, a school record and more than enough to send the Union faithful on their feet celebrating. Felderman and Rolison's record breaks a tied record for 97 yards between Jay Scheel and Trev Hadachek in 2012, and Dylan Bear and Brady Driscol in 2014. The team even got a warning from the refs as they found themselves up 13-0 early in the second quarter.

But the Felderman-Rolison connection wasn't over yet. Less than 10 minutes after the record-breaking play, Felderman threw over the two Blazers chasing Rolison for a 50 yard play and another touchdown to put Union up 20-0 going into halftime.

"We had big plays out there and offense wasn't out very long," coach Joe Hadachek said. "You don't take too much time off the clock. The defense was out there for a long time. I'm happy with the halftime score, how we played."

Hadachek immediately followed with "good football teams come back" and that was certainly the case for Beckman. Under a new coach, the Trailblazers kept with their game plan against a tired Union defense as they scored their first touchdown six minutes into the third quarter. The beginning of the fourth quarter saw another touchdown by Beckman to make the game interesting, 20-13.

"Coach is doing a good job over their, there's lots of energy and the players are buying into what he's got going on," Hadachek said." They did a good job of coming back. "They stuck to their game plan, had some big plays to get them emotionally back in."

After struggling to get first downs in the second half, the Knights instead used their defense to set themselves up for a turnover on downs on the Beckman five yard line after a play by none other than Rolison. The senior then once again carried the scoring load for Union with a rushing touchdown with just over three minutes to go in the game.

"Britt is a special kid," Hadachek said. "He's our best tackler, best offensive weapon and mentally tough. Pound for pound, he's strong as an ox and he's someone that will get better as the season goes on. People ought to be looking at him."

As the Blazers looked to score on the subsequent drive, Seth Wirtz picked off a pass with 2 minutes to go and Union well in control. The Knights ended the game by taking a knee soon after and put the first game of the season to bed even with some defensive struggles.

"The defense was out there a long time, but it's those third and long plays that Beckman got the first down that takes the air out of the defense," Hadachek said. "We've got to get better about that. I'll take the win."

The Knights were led on offense by Rolison with 179 yards total, with 149 receiving and 30 rushing. Silver Schmitz had 29 yards on four receptions. In the running game, Kaleb Roach had 27 yards on seven carries and Brayden Grosse with 25 yards on nine carries. However, it was Felderman at quarterback with 9-18 (50 percent completion), 207 yards and two touchdowns in his debut as signal caller that drew praise from Hadachek.

"Dylan has really come on for us and been the surprise of the team," Hadachek said. "By surprise, I don't mean that he's a quarterback, but just the way he's playing. He's very functional, playing high-percentage football, making great decisions, good in the huddle. I couldn't be more happy with Dylan."

While Grosse continues to compete for snaps at quarterback, Hadachek will have him behind Roach as a running back and use him at quarterback in certain situations, but the starting spot appears cemented with Felderman.

"Grosse can do some things for us because he's a great athlete that gives a different dimension at quarterback," Hadachek said. "I'm not afraid to put him in there if we need a spark, but Dylan is playing well enough he doesn't have to look behind him."

The Knights were led on defense by Kyle Gross with 11 total tackles (eight solo), Rolison with 7.5 tackles (five solo), Lane Albertsen with 6 tackles (four solo) and Wirtz with the interception to seal the game.

"We need to work on the basics; fundamentally tackling and blocking," Hadachek said. "We have to get better at both. We did a good job on the front level blocking, but I feel we never got to the linebackers for that second level. Defensively, first-man tackling and not letting them through and we need to stop the surge. I'm proud of our kids and our crowd. We have a big week coming up."

Union will next hit the road to North Fayette Valley on Friday to take on the Hawks, with varsity starting at 7:30 p.m.


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