MELBOURNE — The Union County Tigers spoiled homecoming for the Melbourne Central Catholic Hustlers and in the process they won their fifth consecutive game of the season. The Hustlers led most of the game until late in the fourth quarter. With time running out in the fourth quarter, the Tigers’ Dairon Alexander scored his second and third touchdowns of the game to defeat the Hustlers 18-7 on Friday night.
Although the Tigers came into the non-district contest averaging 345 passing yards per game, they largely used Alexander’s ground speed to defeat the Hustlers. Alexander scored three touchdowns and all 18 points for the Tigers by rushing for 109 yards on 11 carries.
MCC got on the scoreboard first when the Hustlers’ Greg Johanning recovered a fumble at the Tiger 18-yard line. The Hustlers’ offense quickly took advantage of the miscue when QB Joaquin Collazo connected on a 12-yard scoring toss to Josh Walts. Will McKegg added the extra point to give the Hustlers a 7-0 lead.
Alexander’s first touchdown came with just over 4 minutes remaining in the first half, but a missed extra point allowed MCC to go into the locker room leading by a point. The Hustlers were able to maintain a 7-6 lead until 2:18 remaining in the game. The speedy Alexander gave Union County the lead and put the game out of reach for MCC when he darted 63 yards, giving the Tigers an 18-7 with only 1:14 remaining in the game.
“I was very proud of our effort tonight,” said Hustlers coach Mike Riazzi. “We battled and matched up with a highly-ranked team for four quarters.”
Riazzi also acknowledged several big plays by the Hustler defensive secondary, including Kaleb Dempsey’s coverage of the Tigers’ big threat receivers.
The Hustlers (3-2, 0-1) are on the road next play as they face Cocoa Beach, while the Tigers (4-0, 1-0) will host Hawthorne in a Class 1A, District 6 contest.
Union County 18, MCC 7
Union County 0 6 0 12 — 18
MCC 7 0 0 0 — 7
HOW THEY SCORED
MCC — Josh Walts 13 pass from Juaquin Collazo, Will McKegg kick 4:11.
UC — Dairon Alexander 2 run, Kick Failed 4:32.
UC — Dairon Alexander 6 run, Run Failed 2:18.
UC — Dairon Alexander 13 run, Run Failed 2:18.
Rushing: MCC — Tqwuan Berkley 13-50 Jovan Simon 4-9; UC — Isaiah Johnson 3-7, Dairon Alexander 11-109 3TD, Tyrus Cook 4-2. Passing: MCC — Joaquin Collazo 20-33-1 154yds 1TD; UC — Tyrus Cook 18-36-2 228 yds. Receiving: MCC — Josh Walts 8-12 1TD, John Ragazino 3-28, Nate Flemming 1-7 Bruce Fielding 8-47; UC — Manny Sykes 4-35, #11 Zak Lee 5-123 #23 Isaiah Johnson 2-4, #6 Dairon Alexander 2-26 #2 Franklin Williams 4-36. Punting: MCC — Josh Walts 8-37.5; UC — #13 Tyrus Cook 3-26.5.