Penalties, turnovers play big factor during NU’s setback to Graham


Trevor Moran (10) of North Union presses forward with a pair of Graham tacklers in tow. Moran tallied both of the Wildcats’ TDs, one on the ground and the other in the air during NU’s 14-13 loss. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)

The North Union football has found itself suffering from a lack of consistency this season.
Those moments of errors reared their heads in wrong moments on Friday as the Wildcats suffered their second loss of
the season, falling to Graham 14-13.
North Union was able to run the ball consistently against the Falcon defense, thanks to solid work by Trevor Moran
and Trevyn Feasel.
Inconsistency, though, struck in the form of penalties, which NU had 11 for 84 yards, and three turnovers, one on the
goal line as the Cats were pushing in for a TD.
NU coach Nick Hajjar said the loss came as a combination of the Cats’ mistakes and Graham’s ability to make plays.
“There were times when they made plays when they had to and we didn’t,” he said. “There were times when we beat
ourselves again. Just penalties and turnovers, they are catching up with us right now and they are at key moments.”
The game started out as any coach would want it to.
The Falcons took the opening kick-off, but their drive fizzled out.
NU took over at midfield after a punt.
Moran and Feasel worked the ball down to the Falcons’ 26-yard line.
Preston Crabtree, NU’s gunslinger quarterback, completed a pass to the 16.
Moran ran the ball on the next three plays with the third going in for a TD.
Ricky Weigand put the PAT down the middle of the upright to give North Union a 7-0 lead midway through the first
Inconsistency struck on the Cats’ next drive.
NU tried to move the ball through the air, but Graham’s Austin McKee had different plans.
He picked off a Crabtree pass and returned it for a Falcon TD.
Eli Hollingsworth added the point after that tied the game at 7-7 with just over two minutes left in the quarter.
NU’s ensuing possession was plagued by problems after working down inside the Falcons’ 20-yard line.
A fumble on a handoff pushed the Cats back and a late flag helped take NU from the Graham four-yard line back to the
The nail in the Cats’ TD hopes came on an interception at the goal line.
The interception ultimately led to a Graham touchdown.
Brady King, ran the ball in on a quarterback keeper on the opposite end of the field.
Hollingsworth added another PAT to make it a 14-7 game with 5:09 left in the second quarter.
The Falcons took the lead at the half.
North Union came out in the third quarter with the ball in hand and returned to its ground game.
NU pushed 50 yards down field, using 12 running plays to work the ball to the Falconss 14-yard line.
However, it was a pass to Moran in the corner of the end zone that gave NU a chance at tying up the contest.
A wild snap on the PAT attempt got away from holder Feasel.
He attempted a pass that fell incomplete.
Regardless of the outcome, Hajjar was happy to see his team find success in its run game.
“That is who we are and I think we did it pretty affectively,” he said. “I thought the kids battled four quarters to give
themselves a chance, it just wasn’t good enough tonight.”
The two sides traded punts for the remainder of the game before the Falcons took a knee to end the contest.
With the half-way point of the regular season now behind his squad, Hajjar wants them to make the most of what is left
of the campaign.
“I think it will resonate once we start looking at our schedule to come and understand that time is ticking,” Hajjar said.
“We’ve got to make the most of every opportunity, whether it is practice or games.
“That is all we can do,” he said. “Football will knock you down, but we’ve got to get back up.”
Hajjar hopes his team can regain their footing against at home against Northwestern on Friday.

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