The 36-19 final score would indicate that the Whitewater Wildcats continued their dominance over Union Grove Friday night in a game between teams in opposite sub-regions in Region 4-AAAAA.
The Wildcats won their third straight since a season-opening loss to Coffee and improved to 5-0 all time against Union Grove, but it was far from a clean game.
A week after a turnover-riddled win over Fayette County, the Wildcats still found difficulty holding onto the ball, but got big plays on defense and special teams to keep Union Grove at bay.
Ryan May’s 90-yard interception return provided one score and teammate Colton Clemmons blocked a punt to set up another score as Whitewater bolted to a 29-7 lead early in the second period.
“Coach was telling me to take away the inside, so when he threw it, it was time to get it and go,” said May. “I was really expecting them to throw the fade and I was confident I could cover the receiver. When he jumped inside it went my way.”
Christian Wafford carried 26 times for 152 yards and a touchdown for Whitewater, which got 81 passing yards and 26 rushing yards from quarterback Jay Ashley.
“We had to get focused,” said Wafford. “We weren’t real focused at the beginning on what we had to do, but we came out the second half and got the job done.”
Union Grove quarterback Jonathan Slade passed for 148 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked four times. The Wolverines committed four turnovers and had six possessions that ended in Whitewater territory and finished with 197 total yards.
“I think we’ve got a good football team,” said Whitewater coach Amos McCreary. “We’ve just got to play better without the mistakes and the turnovers and things. If we do that I can think we can be a pretty good team.”
The Wolverines, who suffered their first loss, scored first on Connor Barnell’s 11-yard fumble return three minutes into the game.
Whitewater answered on the following series, when Ashley connected with Josh Alexander for a 60-yard touchdown pass. Union Grove was penalized for encroachment on the extra point try, and Whitewater opted to go for two, taking the lead on Wafford’s run.
Ashley’s 22-yard run capped a seven-play, 82-yard drive for the Wildcats, and Wafford’s 5-yard run after the blocked punt made it 29-7 with 10:08 left in the first half.
Union Grove drove 61 yards in 11 plays for its second score, a 13-yard pass from Slade to Caleb Ham, and pulled within 10 on Chad Reaves’ 1-yard run.
A Union Grove fumble set up Whitewater’s final score a 9-yard run by Clemmons.
Union Grove 7 12 0 0 – 19
Whitewater 15 14 0 7 – 36
UG – Connor Barnell 11 fumble return (Shawn Davis kick)
W – Josh Alexander 60 pass from Jay Ashley (Christian Wafford run)
W – Ryan May 90 interception return (Liam Voigt kick)
W – Ashley 22 run (Voigt kick)
W – Wafford 5 run (Voigt kick)
UG – Caleb Ham 13 pass from Jonathan Slade (pass failed)
UG – Chad Reaves 1 run (run failed)
W – Colton Clemmons 9 run (Voigt kick)