Surprising Jets now 3-0 and claim Milk Bucket
MORRISTOWN – Got milk?
The upstart and undefeated Union Local Jets do.
Coach Bruce Stiles’ eye-opening charges ran their record to 3-0 with a 57-13 triumph over rival Barnesville Friday night at Morristown. The triumph came in the Jets’ home opener and also enabled UL to take possession of the “Milk Bucket,” the revolving trophy between the western Belmont County rivals.
The Shamrocks of Matt Johnson, who had won the last three outings against UL, are now 0-3.
“It is an exciting time right now. The kids are playing well and their confidence level continues to grow,” Stiles said. “I am really happy with how things are going right now.
UL will face it stiffest test to date when it travels to Cadiz Friday to face a Harrison Central team which is much better than previously advertised.
Barnesville, meanwhile, is battling youthfulness and injuries. The Shamrocks started the game minus several regulars before seeing a few more gridders leave the field hobbled.
Barnesville played well early, gaining a 13-7 lead. However, the Red & Green proved their own worst enemies, yielding four turnovers in the first half which translated into a 28-13 UL halftime advantage.
The Jets’ completely owned the second half, ending the game with 50 unanswered points.
“I was happy with how we responded after falling behind. I told the kids we would find out how good we are when we had to overcome some adversity. We got a small taste of that tonight,” Stiles said. “We were able to take advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves.
“Defensively we are playing very solid. Coach (Mike) Menges is doing a great job with them,” he added. “My only concern at this point is a lack of consistency at times. We may put a good drive together then have a few bad series right after. But other than that, I am very pleased.”
UL drew fist blood when Spencer Ware pilfered a Shamrock pass and raced 65 untouched yards down the sideline. Eric Dunfee’s PAT made it 7-0 with 3:54 left in the opening quarter.
Barnesville struck back immediately as sophomore Dylan Burkhart hauled in the ensuing kickoff at his 10 and scampered 90 yards to paydirt. A David Brown PAT made it a 7-7 deadlock.
The Shamrocks used a quick-striking 3-play, 49-yard drive to grab the lead late in the opening chapter. The key play in the series was a 47-yard pass connection from Austin Hannahs to Chase Huntsman. Hannahs capped the drive from five yards out. The kick failed, leaving the visitors on top 13-7.
The roof came tumbling down at this point for Barnesville.
UL’s Colton McKivits scooped up a Barnesville bobble and returned it 18 yards to the Shamrocks’s 14. Joey Brown carried it to paydirt on the ensuing snap. Dunfee’s boot made it a 14-13 UL lead.
The Jets simply put the throttle down the balance of the night.
Senior quarterback Travis James speared sophomore Demitree Turner with a 40-yard aerial score followed by a 41-yard TD pass on a flea-flicker from Dunfee to Isaac Goodson, making it 28-13 at halftime.
The hosts added four more six-pointers and a safety after intermission. The highlight coming on a 70-yard touchdown gallop by Jake Leishman. He finished with 109 yards on just three carries.
UL displayed nice offensive balance, rushing for 247 yards and passing for 115 more. Barnesville garnered just 149 total yards while turning it over five times.
“It’s a little rough right now for us,” Johnson said. “I cannot fault the kids’ efforts. We are playing with a lot of freshmen and sophomores our there.
“We sill stay the course and keep pounding away. We aren’t going to hang our heads,” he added. “We will keep working hard looking for improvement. We still have a lot of football left to play this season.”
Barnesville will travel to Old Washington Friday to take on Buckeye Trail.
Nick Pritts, Ware and Dunfee spearheaded the Jets’ strong defensive effort. Also chipping in with strong showings were Blake and Patrick Abboud.