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Union Local can’t keep up with Cambridge

MORRISTOWN – The Union Local Jets and Cambridge Bobcats played a tight first quarter that saw the visitors hold a 7-0 lead, however the visitors put 23 points on the board in the second quarter and never looked back en route to a 44-13 victory in a penalty-marred game that saw the teams flagged a combined 26 times for 145 yards.

“Early on in the year we couldn’t run the ball, in the first two weeks we struggled, and the past few weeks we’ve been able to run the ball better, and it’s something we have got to get going,” stated Cambridge coach Josh Lowery. “When we get our running game going, we are pretty tough to beat, so that is our number one M.O. is to run the football.”

Cambridge (4-3) toted the leather 25 times for 155 yards and three scores.

“We noticed certain formations gave us an advantage on the outside, and other formations gave us an advantage on the inside, but when we saw they were playing man coverage across the board we knew we could get to the outside, which opened some things for the inside to,” Lowery said.

The Jets, who have seen a rash of injuries throughout the season and at any point have a number of freshmen on the field during the game saw frosh Carter Blake make his first start of the season.

“Carter is a good kid, first and foremost. Unfortunately, he was out for a bit with a broken collarbone. We put him in a tough situation and we thought he handled it well,” Jets boss Bernie Thompson said. “He’s a young kid just like the rest of the kids, but we have high expectations for him and expect him to preform well and for the most part, I thought he handled his own.”

Blake finished the evening with a solid line of 13 of 18 for 157 yards and a pair of scores with no interceptions.

“I think we are getting better each week, and that is what we pride ourselves in,” continued Thompson. “I thought offensively we put some things together, we’re just not there yet. We looked a little inconsistent. I thought last week we did a better job offensively of moving the ball, we’ve just got to do a better job of getting first downs and maintaining drives, but we’re close. Kudos to (Cambridge), they played hard and they were the better team tonight, but I’m proud of our kids, I thought they fought hard on both sides of the ball, and at the end of the day we’ve just got to get better.

The Bobcats and Jets (0-7) traded possessions to open the game, with the visitors getting better field possession when an errant snap on a punt set Cambridge up on the Jets’ 20-yard line. After a loss on first down, senior Travon Jeffery took the ball untouched up the middle for a 24-yard score. Andrew Fillippis was true on the PAT for a 7-0 Cambridge lead at the 7:08 mark of the first.

The hosts put together a sustained drive on the legs of freshman Jaksan Price , however the drive stalled forcing the Jets to punt.

Travon Jeffery put together a highlight-reel run for 59-yards in the drive nearing the end of the first, and visitors ended up getting an extra play at the end of the first after the Jets were flagged for pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the visitors an untimed down at the end of the first. Cambridge did not score on this, however they found pay dirt seven seconds late with Latrell Payton zipping right on a jet sweep for four yards. Fillippis was true again for a 14-0 showing in favor of Cambridge.

Union Local landed in the end zone next drive which covered 65-yards and spanned eight plays. The drive, which was a mix of Price runs and Blake passes, culminated in a three-yard fade from Blake to senior Hunter McCort for the score. Parker Skedel booted the point after, closing the gap to 14-7. Unfortunately for the Jets, this is as close as the game would be for the rest of the evening.

Cambridge scored on its next two drives, first with senior signal caller Cody Moore taking a third-down draw into the end zone from five yards out. Fillippis hit the extra point for a 21-7 lead, then after a three-and out by the hosts, the Big Blue struck again with Moore tossing a dart to Shawn Perkins who was running a crossing route over the middle and managed to outrun two would-be tacklers, while spinning away from another at the five to go in for the score. Fillippis made it 28-7 with 2:11 left before halftime.

The Bobcats got on the board one more time, tackling Union Local’s punter in the end zone for a safety after the snap sailed through his hands and over his head, putting Cambridge up 30-7 at the break.

Union Local opened the second half with a lengthy drive, but once it stalled had to punt again, and again were victimized by an issue with the ball getting to the punter, giving Cambridge the ball back on the UL 21.

Two-plays later, Moore ran up the gut for 20 yards. Fillippis’ kick put the score at 37-7 and triggered the running clock.

Union Local used some trickery on the ensuing kickoff, returning the kick for a would-be score after it was chucked across the field from one returner to another, however an illegal block and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on both teams nullified the return.

With the clock ticking quickly, each team had offensive chances with the Bobcats scoring their final touchdown on an 11-yard rush by Payton, who again found room on a jet sweep. Reserve kicker Steeler Siylvis closed scoring for Cambridge with his PAT.

Union Local moved the ball one more time, closing it out when Blake threw a wide receiver screen to speedy Caleb McWhorter, who raced 57-yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Skedel’s PAT was wide putting the final score at 44-13 in favor of the Bobcats.

The Jets offense saw Price run for 49 yards and McWhorter finish with five caches for 81 yards and a score. Cambridge was led by Jeffery, who finished with 83 yards and a score on 10 totes.

Union Local returns to action next week as it visits former Belmont County Fair rival St. Clairsville. Cambridge hosts Coshocton.

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