A look back: Union victory included standout performances from its stars

Union Titans

A look ahead: Titans to face Mountain View in emotional matchup

Week 1: Union 35, Hermiston (Ore.) 21

Week 2: vs. Mountain View at McKenzie Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Union welcomed the return of JoJo Siofele, Lincoln Victor was terrific, and Darien Chase continued his impressive individual streak in the Titans’ opener.

Streak goes into its third season:

Not sure if you heard, but Darien Chase, one of the top recruits in the state, is now at Union.

And if you hadn’t heard, surely you know by now because he made one of those Darien Chase plays in his first game with the Titans.

A bomb from quarterback Lincoln Victor turned into a 50-50 ball with Chase and the defensive back. Then again, any 50-50 ball involving Chase usually is about an 80-20 ball in favor of Chase’s team.

In this one, yes, he jumped, tipped the ball to himself, his defender fell down, and Chase strolled into the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown.

 

Union’s Darien Chase scored a touchdown in Week 1, extending his personal streak to at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive games. Photo by Paul Valencia
Union’s Darien Chase scored a touchdown in Week 1, extending his personal streak to at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive games. Photo by Paul Valencia

Chase, who played for Mountain View his first two high school seasons, has now scored a touchdown — either on offense, defense, or special teams — in 12 consecutive games. He scored a touchdown in his last game as a freshman, then scored in all 10 games he played for the Thunder last year. (He was injured and missed the Week 11 playoff game.) Now at Union, he remains obsessed with the end zone.

Jojo’s back:

Jojo Siofele, who injured his knee at Hermiston in Week 1 in 2016, returned to the field and looked as strong as ever.

Interestingly, the running back did not have a rushing attempt the first two times he touched the ball. But he was still money.

On his first touch, he threw a halfback pass for a 33-yard gain to set up Union’s first touchdown of the season.

On his second touch, he scored on a 21-yard touchdown pass. On the play, he dragged defenders seven yards into the end zone.

Other plays that stood out on the video review:

Hermiston had a good drive going to open the game, but it all ended when 6-foot-3 Zion Fa’aopega jumped to deflect a pass. The tipped ball was intercepted by Alex Vallejo, and Union was on its way. Vallejo would add another interception later in the game.

Alishawuan Taylor also got a tipped pass, only instead of tipping it to a teammate, he tipped it to himself for a diving interception to thwart another Hermiston drive.

Coach Speak:

What did Rory Rosenbach learn about his team in Week 1? “The offensive line is capable of competing at a very high level.”

Coach’s pick for MVP of the offense:  The offensive line. Union rushed for nearly 200 yards, and the quarterback was only sacked once and that was a coverage sack.

Coach’s pick for MVP of the defense: Alex Vallejo. Both of his interceptions came in the red zone, plus he had nine tackles.

Thoughts on Week 2: “Rivalry game! Contrasting styles. Gonna be a packed house. It will be the best football environment in Clark County on Friday,” Rosenbach said.

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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