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Union defense posts a second-half shutout in the championship game

Titans turn balanced effort into Class 4A state high school football championship

TACOMA — There was not a whole lot of defense in the first half.

Then there was a ton of defense by one team — the winning team — in the second half.

Union’s first state championship will be remembered for the 52 points scored against Lake Stevens. For Jojo Siofele’s incredible performance. For Lincoln Victor’s amazing night.

And also, yes, the Union defense.

A shutout in the second half.

That led to a close game turning into a blowout.

Union defensive back Justin Chin (9) lays a hit on Lake Stevens wide receiver Kasen Kinchen (25) during Saturday’s Class 4A state football championship game at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union defensive back Justin Chin (9) lays a hit on Lake Stevens wide receiver Kasen Kinchen (25) during Saturday’s Class 4A state football championship game at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz

Tyler Summers led Union with eight tackles. Justin Chin had seven. Jack Eggleston had a sack, while he, Chin, Jackson Saylor, and Alex Vallejo were credited with tackles for loss. Daron Ulrich had an interception. So, too, did Siofele.

“We just did our thing,” defensive lineman Reagan Kelley said. “We had to stay square. We just had to do our jobs. All-around, just a great job by everybody.

Union defensive back Alex Vallejo (27) returns the football for yardage after a fumble recovery. The Titans’ defense shutout Lake Stevens in the second half Saturday and Union cruised to a 52-20 win in the Class 4A state high school football championship game at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union defensive back Alex Vallejo (27) returns the football for yardage after a fumble recovery. The Titans’ defense shutout Lake Stevens in the second half Saturday and Union cruised to a 52-20 win in the Class 4A state high school football championship game at the Tacoma Dome. Photo by Mike Schultz

Union coach Rory Rosenbach said the Titans executed the plan they worked on all week. Oh, it took some time. The Vikings got those three first-half touchdowns. But the Titans did not panic.

“Once we got the lead, we felt really, really good,” Rosenbach said.

He knew the defense had it all figured out by then.

Big brothers, little brothers

Lincoln Victor and Jackson Saylor were in this building many, many years ago, too.

Union quarterback Lincoln Victor (5) led the Titans to a victory in the Class 4A state high school football championship game Saturday. A decade ago, he was in the dome as his brother Kapono Victor’s Union team lost in the title game. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union quarterback Lincoln Victor (5) led the Titans to a victory in the Class 4A state high school football championship game Saturday. A decade ago, he was in the dome as his brother Kapono Victor’s Union team lost in the title game. Photo by Mike Schultz

Kapono Victor and Mitch Saylor helped Union reach back-to-back final fours, including one championship game appearance, last decade.

Lincoln Victor said he still remembers a photo of him, 10 years ago, giving his older brother a hug, consoling him after a loss.

Jackson Saylor promised things would be different this time.

“I was not going to let that happen this year,” he said. “Since I’ve been little, I’ve dreamt of coming here. For 10 years, since my brother played. Senior year. Finally, I got to do it.”

Records

Lincoln Victor’s five touchdown passes is a championship game record. Siofele tied a record with his 80-yard run and he set a record with his five total touchdowns. He also has a new mark with three receiving TDs.

The Titans also scored 52 points, a new high mark for the 4A title game.

Members of the Union Titans celebrate Saturday after winning the Class 4A state high school football championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
Members of the Union Titans celebrate Saturday after winning the Class 4A state high school football championship. Photo by Mike Schultz

One more year?

Lincoln Victor is a senior. He is not going to play for the Union Titans next year.

Just don’t tell that to Union coach Rory Rosenbach.

“He will be missed,” Rosenbach said. “He is a special, special guy. A once-in-a-career kind of kid for most coaches.Don’t remind me that he’s leaving. I’d like to pretend he’s going to be around longer.”

Victor threw for 327 yards and five touchdowns.

“You gotta get the ball in space to the guys who make my job easier,” he said. “I’ll do whatever’s best for my team. I’d rather give credit to other people.”

Rego Strong

Offensive line coach Mark Rego had some advice for the Titans prior to his death from cancer earlier this season.

“Live in the moment,” Victor said.

A championship moment.

Union head coach Rory Rosenbach guided his team to a perfect 14-0 season and a Class 4A state high school football championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union head coach Rory Rosenbach guided his team to a perfect 14-0 season and a Class 4A state high school football championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
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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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