Titans in the thick of the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League race
Union Titans (5-1, 2-0 4A GSHL)
Week 1: Union 35, Hermiston 21
Week 2: Union 26, Mountain View 21
Week 3: Eastside Catholic 35, Union 0
Week 4: Union 33, Tumwater 29
Week 5: Union 56, Heritage 6
Week 6: Union 52, Battle Ground 8
Next: vs. Evergreen, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at McKenzie Stadium
An absolute perfect first quarter for the Titans sent them on the way to their fifth victory in six weeks.
What a start:
First play from scrimmage, Union’s Riley Miller met the Battle Ground ball carrier and stood him up for not much. Pretty much set the tone.
The defense stopped Battle Ground, and Union’s offense would not be stopped.
On the first TD, quarterback Lincoln Victor pitched it to receiver Dustin Nettles, then Victor went out for a pass. Nettles found him. Jojo Siofele made one downfield block, and that’s all the speedy Victor would need for a touchdown.
The next defensive series was highlighted by a pass defended by Darien Chase. That set up a punt, and Braedon Ensley went all highlight reel on us. It was a 64-yard return in which he started right, reversed direction to his left, bumped into his own teammate, kept going left, then made another change of direction, back to the right and up the middle. Yes, it looked like he got around and then through the Battle Ground defenders … twice!
Next series, Miller recorded a third-down sack. Ensley got a 28-yard punt return. Union scored soon after.
Next series, one of those plays that aren’t noticed by all. Believe it was Alex Vallejo who sacrificed his own statistics by attacking the oncoming blocker. The Battle Ground running back was slowed by this, allowing for Union defensive lineman Jonathan Lee to chase down the back from behind. (As always, especially with Union jerseys, I hope I am seeing the numbers correctly. If not, trust me, it was a great play, no matter who did it.)
Later on the drive, Tyler Summer got in there for sack and forced fumble that Union recovered. One play later, touchdown pass.
Next series, another Battle Ground punt. Ensley returned this one 15 yards, but it also was a very smart play. He had to go to his knee to try to stop the low punt. But he made sure he got up from his knee before retrieving the ball. Had he not, he would have been down there. A few plays later, Union scored again.
That was a 35-0 first quarter.
What did Rory Rosenbach learn about his team in Week 6? “Probably the most complete game we’ve played this year. Special teams got rolling, defense played the run really well, and we were able to spread the ball around on offense early. Thought Battle Ground played hard until the end. Credit to what Coach Kes (Mike Kesler) and his staff are building.”
MVP on offense: Tiernan Stanley with two catches for 50 yards, both for TDs. “Really made the most of his opportunities,’’ Rosenbach said. “Has been playing really well lately and was able to step out of the shadows this week and make some big plays.”
MVPs on defense: “Defensive line, especially Zion Faaopega, Wyatt Rogina, and Jackson Saylor. Really did a great job of being disciplined against a good running football team,” Rosenbach said.
Thoughts on Week 7 vs. Evergreen: “Evergreen does a really nice job getting their athletes in space and taking advantage of matchups,’’ Rosenbach said. “And they give you a ton of different looks on defense. We will have to have a great short week of preparation in order to handle all the looks they will give us. Excited for the opportunity to get better.”