Jackets struggle against NELBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
Union football coach Brad Breland went into Friday night’s jamboree with a ton of questions about his young football team.
He left with just as many.
Northeast Lauderdale took advantage of two Union turnovers as they took a 28-8 win over the Yellowjackets in a one-half jamboree at East Central Community College.
For Breland, it was a tough loss but one in which he learned some things about his team.
“We looked like we hadn’t practiced,” Breland said. “I know the freshmen are going to make mistakes. I was disappointed in the older guys who had a chance to make plays and didn’t make plays. I feel like we are going to get better. I hate it went the way it did, but we are going to get better. We never really stopped them. I was disappointed in our defense. We weren’t real tough or real aggressive.”
The Trojans defense got to work early when sophomore Tyler Smith intercepted a Trent Hanna pass on the second play from scrimmage, giving Northeast the ball at the Union 31. It didn’t take long from there as the Trojans went 31 yards in five plays, overcoming a holding penalty as Kamerion Hulin scored on a 1-yard run with 9:55 left in the first period. Brandon Moody booted the PAT for a 7-0 Northeast lead.
“There are some things that we have to clean up, but overall, I am pleased with the guys, the way they played,” Northeast Lauderdale coach Curt Blackburn said. “On offense, both quarterbacks scored every time they had a chance to. It was good to see them lead the offense. The first four drives were really good. And we had the opportunity to play some younger guys and that was good.”
After forcing Union to punt, the Trojans went marching again, this time on a 10-play, 70-yard drive as Hulin called his own number again on a 3-yard run with 3:35 left in the first. Moody’s PAT was good and Northeast led 14-0.
The Trojans got the ball right back when Hanna was sacked and fumbled the ball with senior Deandra Gibbs coming up with the pigskin at the Union 24.
Three plays later, Braxton Lee hit Jarvis Cook on a 34-yard pass play for the score. Moody booted the PAT and Northeast led 21-0.
Union finally got something going on offense as Hanna hit Jevon Williams on a 17-yard gainer to get the Jackets to midfield. Two plays later, Hanna hit senior Michael McDonald on a short pass that turned into a 48-yard touchdown as time expired in the first quarter. Hanna found Trevor Patchin for the two-point conversion to cut the score to 21-8.
The Trojans answered Union’s score with a time-consuming 11-play drive with a stead dose of Hulin running the football. Lee finished off the drive as he scored on a 1-yard keeper with 6:22 left in the half. Moody’s PAT was good and Northeast led 28-6.
“We are expecting big things out of him Kamerion this year,” Blackburn said. “He’s our leading returning rusher from last year. I thought Braxton (Lee) did a good job at quarterback when he came in. I think it will be good for us because we can use both styles of offense to move the ball. I thought they both played well.”
Hulin ended the half with 85 yards rushing on 13 carries to lead the Northeast offense.
Northeast will kick off the regular season next week when they host defending Class 3A state champion Kemper County. Union will host Choctaw Central in their season opener.