Union to clash with Skyview Friday at Kiggins Bowl

ClarkCountyToday.com reporter Paul Valencia does his video homework to provide a review of Union’s Week 1 win and a look at the Titans’ Week 2 matchup.

Titans can clinch a top-2 spot in league standings with a win over the Storm

Union Titans (6-1, 2-0 4A GSHL)

Week 1: Union 35, Hermiston (Ore.) 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
Week 7: Union 49, Evergreen 6
Next: vs. Skyview, 8 p.m. Friday at Kiggins Bowl

The Titans won a non-league game of no significance other than the opportunity to keep their momentum going into the biggest game of the year to date.

What does Week 8 mean to Union?

Technically, this is not a must-win for the Union Titans against the Skyview Storm.

But, c’mon, it kind of is. The Titans feel it is. Their coach says it is a “playoff game.”

To be fair, though, Union could lose to Skyview in Week 8 and still make it to a tiebreaker for a playoff berth.

Union takes on Skyview and Camas in back-to-back weeks.

A win over Skyview would end Skyview’s playoff hopes and set up a Week 9 game with Camas for the league title, with the loser taking the second playoff spot from the 4A Greater St. Helens League.

If Union loses to Skyview, the Titans would then have to beat Camas in Week 9 in hopes of a three-way tie for first place (if Skyview also wins its Week 9 game). If that happens, some sort of tiebreaker would be contested for the two playoff berths.

Union running back Elijah Jones (21), shown here in a game earlier this season, was involved in a trick play for the Titans’ first touchdown in last week’s win over Evergreen. Jones took a handoff and before he got the line of scrimmage, he tossed the football back to quarterback Carter Sutton, who then found Darien Chase for a touchdown. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union running back Elijah Jones (21), shown here in a game earlier this season, was involved in a trick play for the Titans’ first touchdown in last week’s win over Evergreen. Jones took a handoff and before he got the line of scrimmage, he tossed the football back to quarterback Carter Sutton, who then found Darien Chase for a touchdown. Photo by Mike Schultz

Flea-flicker:

Great to see the old flea-flicker play. Union showcased the trick play for its first touchdown Friday night.

Quarterback Carter Sutton handed off the ball to Elijah Jones for a run up the middle. But before Jones got to the line of scrimmage, he tossed the ball back to Sutton. The defense, believing it was a run play, failed to see Union wide receiver Darien Chase running toward the end zone, wide open.

Here’s the beauty of a trick play: When it works, no need for a perfect pass. Sutton, who was about to get hit as he released the ball, knew he just had to throw it up for Chase. Sure enough, the ball floated a bit but got there in plenty of time for the easy TD.

One more thing about this play that few would notice. Slot receiver Braedon Ensley had a great block on a blitzing linebacker, allowing time for the flea flicker to work. Then Ensley can be seen raising his hands before Chase caught the pass. He knew it was a touchdown before it was a touchdown.

All he does is catch TDs:

For those of you who don’t know that term, no, I’m not criticizing Darien Chase here.

(It’s an old quote from a curmudgeon of a coach who claimed Cris Carter wasn’t very good because he “only” caught TD passes. Turned out, Cris Carter was a Hall of Famer. And the curmodgeon of a coach was just a curmodgeon.)

On Friday, Darien Chase caught five touchdown passes. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Back-to-back dimes, and he can still run:

Union used two quarterbacks in this one. Lincoln Victor also had a big night.

He threw a strike on a 22-yard post route to Chase for one score. After an Evergreen punt, the two combined again, on the first play of the next drive. The second one was a 40-yarder, but the same route, a post. The second pass also had a bit more air to allow for Chase to run under it for the easy score.

Victor can still run, too. Later in the game, Evergreen had a pass rush up the middle, but the defender missed Victor. No was was left to contain, so Victor ran right up the middle for a 27-yard run, setting up another score.

Pick-Six:

Alex Vallejo had a 58-yard interception return in the second half for the Titans. This was not some easy return, picking it off in the flat.

Nope, Vallejo got underneath a pattern, stepped in front of the receiver for the interception in the middle of the field, ran to his right side, then cut back toward the middle again and ended up on the left sideline for the extra-long 58-yard return.

Coach Speak:

What did Rory Rosenbach think about his team’s performance in Week 7? “We did some things to get better. That’s always what we talk about, just get better. ‘Don’t worry about the scoreboard. Worry about your performance.’ We still have a bunch of stuff to clean up. Execution-wise, I think we were pretty good. Our offensive line gets better every week.”

MVP on offense: Darien Chase. Five catches, five TDs. “Kind of a no-brainer,” the coach said.

MVP on defense: Alishawuan Taylor with 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and several big plays on third down.

Thoughts on Week 8 vs. Skyview: “This is a playoff game,’’ Rosenbach said. “That’s what you play for. You got to get to Week 8 and be relevant. That’s what we care about it. Week 8 and 9, we have a shot at the playoffs. That’s exciting. Skyview has a really good football team. We got stuff we’re good at, and they’ve got stuff they’re good at. Who can do their stuff better?”

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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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