North Union head coach Nick Hajjar could not ask for any more of his team on Friday night as they shut out the Eagles of Colonel Crawford, 34-0, to pick up their second win of the season.
“We kind of challenged our guys to show some improvement from week one to week two,” he said. “One of them was starting faster and I thought we did.”
And fast the Cats were. North Union opened the game with the ball and used its traditional running style to march down the field.
Trevor Moran did the dirty work for NU, picking up five or six yards a carry, while Hajjar mixed in Trevyn Feasel to keep the Eagles on their toes.
Feasel broke a 35-yard run to push the Cats down to the two-yard line.
Moran punched it in to open the scoring in the game. Ricky Weigand put the ball through the uprights to make it a 7-0 contest.
The North Union defense, which held the Eagles to only 84 yards of total offense during the shut out, shut down Colonel Crawford’s opening possession in four quick plays.
The Wildcats needed only two plays to find the end zone for the second time.
Preston Crabtree threw a strike to Feasel, who was open in the middle of the field, for a 68-yard TD.
Weigand added the extra point to make it a 14-0 game.
The Colonel Crawford offense was not on the field long after the kick-off.
Isaiah Radcliff stepped in front of an Eagle receiver to pick off a pass and give NU the ball at the Eagles’ 29-yard line.
Moran ripped off an 18-yard run to get inside the red zone.
A Colonel Crawford penalty set NU up inside the 10.
Feasel and Moran teamed up to pick the remaining yards with Moran earning his second touchdown from three yards out.
Weigand stayed perfect on the PAT to give North Union a 21-0 lead on only 14 plays.
Hajjar said he could feel the buzz in the air even during warm-ups that his team was going to play fast and fierce.
“It is something that we could feel in warm-ups,” he said. “I don’t know if it was playing at home or just another opportunity to play. This group is really good and our leadership has been good and whatever they did it worked and allowed us to start fast.”
With only half of the first quarter in the books, the game entered a “lull” where both sides exchanged the ball with little forward progress.
However, it was an injury in the second period that gave the North Union offense so new-found life.
Hajjar said that is football and injuries happen.
When they do, young guys can step up in a big way.
“We also had some guys get banged up, but some of our younger guys stepped up,” Hajjar said. “Ethan Young came in did some things for us tonight. Some other guys came in to help out on special teams and I think that is the mark of a good football team… the next man up. That is football.”
Young made a solid impact on the Colonel Crawford defense, working in tandem with Jacob Florio to move the Cats inside the Eagles 20-yard line.
Young received a handoff and worked his way around the end from 17 yards out to give NU its fourth TD and first in the second quarter.
Weigand’s kick went astray, leaving North Union with a commanding 27-0 lead.
Feasel made a repeat trip to the end zone right before the half, capping a six-play drive from three yards out. Weigand added another point to give North Union a 34-0 lead.
It was all defense for both teams during the second half.
Both sides took turns driving deep into the opposing team’s territory before an interception or making a turnover on downs.
Hajjar said the slow play in the second half is something the Cats will have to clean up going forward.
“The big thing we’ve got to learn is to start fast and finish strong,” he said. “That is something we are going to have to emphasize as we move forward.”
The Cats finished the game with a long drive that put them inside the Eagles’ five-yard line before Hajjar called in a victory formation to run out the clock.
Hajjar added that they accomplished what they wanted to on Friday, going 2-0 to start the season.
“2-0 was the goal this week,” he said. “We wanted to go 1-0 to get us to 2-0, so it is one week at a time. This is a long season and the goal now is to go 1-0 again.”
North Union has to go on the road to play “a big road game” against Heath in Week Three.
“We’ve got be road warriors and play a very good football team,” Hajjar said.
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