VANCOUVER — It is a rivalry each season anyway, but it was even more emotional Friday night.
One of the top players in the state switched teams over the offseason.
A coach gave a sarcastic comment regarding the other team.
And the fans, well of course the fans were fanatical.
A non-league football game means nothing when it comes to playoff positioning. But this game really did mean something to all involved.
By the end of the night, it was Union taking bragging rights with a 26-21 victory over Mountain View Friday at McKenzie Stadium.
“This is a big win. It’s a turf war,” said Union defensive lineman Zion Fa’aopega. “It means a whole lot for our whole team and our community.”
But it is just a rivalry on the field between the players.
Once the game ended, there were handshakes and photos, Titans and Thunder posing together.
Jojo Siofele, who rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns for Union, wore a green T-shirt under his jersey and a green bandana under his helmet, in a salute to Mountain View.
“I wanted to show them we are a family,” Siofele said.
He and the Titans also wanted to show off their own bond. At halftime, they challenged each other to play together, and it worked.
Union, which gave up 200 rushing yards in the first half, held Mountain View to 62 on the ground in the second half. That paved way for Union’s come-from-behind victory.
“We made some adjustments,” Union coach Rory Rosenbach said. “It’s about being disciplined. It’s about doing your job and trusting the other 10 to do their jobs.”
Rosenbach credited Mountain View for keeping the Titans off balance for the first half.
“At halftime, we figured things out,” Rosenbach said. “We were able to slow them down and make some plays.”
Fa’aopega was one of those guys who figured it out for Union. He was in on two big tackles-for-loss in the second half.
“We were kind of shocked,” he said of Mountain View’s big first half. “We knew we had to get our heads in the game.”
Mountain View went three-and-out in the first possession of the second half, leading to Siofele’s 1-yard touchdown run to give Union a 20-14 lead. The score was set up by on a 35-yard pass from Lincoln Victor to former Mountain View standout Darien Chase.
Jordan Torres would get an interception early in the fourth quarter, putting Union in position to score again. Victor found Aiden Nellor on a 16-yard touchdown pass for a 26-14 advantage.
Mountain View responded with a 10-play touchdown drive. Quarterback Glen Perry Jr., who finished with a game-high 176 yards on the ground, scored his third touchdown on an 8-yard scramble with 4:05 left in the game.
The Thunder never got the ball back, though.
Union, behind Siofele, picked up two first downs. Then Victor found Chase, who made a diving, one-handed grab on a third-down play to get the final first down of the night.
It was victory formation from there for Union.
The Thunder were looking like more than just a team thankful to compete on the same field with such a talented team as Union, as Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson said earlier in the week.
Union scored first in this game on a Siofele 5-yard touchdown run, but the Thunder fought right back to take a 7-6 lead on Perry’s 1-yard touchdown run.
Jack Mertens got an interception to lead to another Mountain View touchdown. This time Perry went 45 yards and just stayed in bounds before diving into the end zone for a 14-6 lead.
Union pulled within one, at 14-13, on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Victor to Braedon Ensley. But it was so much more than just that. Victor looked like he would be the victim of a certain sack. Instead, he scrambled away, then found Ensley downfield. Ensley caught it, then made quite the move at the 8-yard line before slipping into the end zone.
“We’re not satisfied with it,” Victor said. “We still have a lot more to do. This was a learning experience. We can’t just show up and think we’ll roll them. We have to prepare Monday through Thursday and come out and play four full quarters of football.”
UNION 26, MOUNTAIN VIEW 21
Union 6 7 7 6 — 26
Mtn View 7 7 0 7 — 21
U — Jojo Siofele 5 run (Snap goes awry, pass failed)
MV — Glen Perry Jr 1 run (Aiden Hargrove kick)
MV — Perry 45 run (Hargrove kick)
U — Braedon Ensley 36 pass from Lincoln Victor (Alex Koga kick)
U — Siofele 1 run (Koga kick)
U — Aiden Nellor 16 pass from Victor (run failed)
MV — Perry 8 run (Hargrove kick)
RUSHING: Union: Ensley 1-18, Alishwuan Taylor 1-7, Siofele 16-115, Victor 6-39, Elijah Jones 5-6. Mountain View: Perry 24-176, Jack Mertens 5-33, Michael Urruchua 5-20, Nile Jones 8-33.
PASSING: Union: Victor 14-21-1-196. Mountain View: Perry 4-9-2-31.
RECEIVING: Union: Darien Chase 5-79, Taylor 1-17, Ensley 5-59, Nellor 3-41. Mountain View: Jones 1-3, Michael Bolds 1- (minus 2), Rodolfo Montiel 1-16, Mertens 1-14.
This week’s scores
|Tualatin (Ore.)||53||Battle Ground||0|
|The Dalles (Ore.)||34||Fort Vancouver||0|
|Forks||54||King’s Way Christian||21|