Chester Handles Yellow Jackets
By: Brian Whitmore
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times
CHESTER - Union County's players and coaches knew it would take a mistake-free game by the Yellow Jackets to defeat top-ranked Chester Friday night.
Unfortunately, untimely mistakes proved costly, resulting in a 35-14 loss in Union County's season-opening football game.
Chester's Bobby Kelly returned a punt for a touchdown and set up another score with a long punt return. The Yellow Jackets also hurt themselves by fumbling the ball at the 50-yard line in the third quarter while trailing 21-7. A personal foul penalty against Union County kept the drive alive and Chester eventually scored on a one-yard run by Julius Pendergrass to take a 28-7 lead. Pendergrass was Chester's leading rusher with nine carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cyclones had a balanced attack, rolling up 204 yards on the ground and 140 through the air. Brent Minter gained 76 yards on 20 carries and scored twice.
"It's just Game One of a long journey," Yellow Jacket coach David Lipsey said. "We came out with some fire and played a pretty good first half. We had some untimely things happen. This will help us in the long run."
Kelly gave Chester an early 7-0 lead when he returned Nick Monroe's punt 50 yards for a touchdown. A 15-yard celebration penalty resulted in good field position for Union County after the ensuing kickoff, which Calvin Williams returned 32 yards to the midfield stripe.
Michael Mebane carried the ball four times for 20 yards and Monroe hit John Simmons Fallaw on a 15-yard pass before Monroe snuck in from two yards out to tie the score at 7-7. Mebane was Union County's leading rusher with 80 yards on 14 carries. Dierris Beacham gained 62 yards on 8 attempts.
Chester converted a pass interception into a go-ahead score in the second quarter. Quarterback Tony McNeal mixed short passes with handoffs to Minter and Pendergrass, who scored from eight yards out for a 14-7 Cyclone lead. A fake punt by Monroe on Union County's next possession didn't fool Chester and the Cyclones quickly drove 57 yards for another touchdown. Minter's one-yard run gave Chester a 21-7 lead with 2:24 left in the first half.
Minter scored Chester's last touchdown on a one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter, capping a 10-play, 63-yard drive.
Union County capitalized on a pass interception by Labrian Smith for its final score, a four-yard pass from Monroe to Keiston Stevens with 2:43 left in the game.
The Yellow Jackets' difficult non-region schedule continues next week when they entertain Spartanburg.
"It doesn't get any easier from here on out," Lipsey
Union County 7 0 0 7 — 13
Chester 7 14 7 7 — 35
C — Kelly 50 punt return (Whiteside kick)
UC — Monroe 2 run (Tucker kick)
C — Pendergrass 8 run (Whiteside kick)
C — Minter 1 run (Whiteside kick)
C — Pendergrass 1 run (Whiteside kick)
C — Minter 1 run (Whiteside kick)
UC — Stevens 2 pass from Monroe (Tucker kick)
First downs — Union County 11, Chester 20
Yards rushing — Union County 171,Chester 204
Yards passing — Union County 26, Chester 140
Passing, A-C-I — Union County 4-15-1, Chester 16-23-1
Rushing — Mebane (UC) 14-80, Beacham (UC) 8-62; Pendergrass (C) 9-104, Minter (C) 20-76
Receiving — Fallaw (UC) 1-15, Knox (UC) 1-7; Minter (C) 6-63, Strong (C) 3-41
Penalties — Union County 5-41; Chester 9-87
Fumble-lost — Union County 1-1; Chester 0-0
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