RICHWOOD – North Union coach Nick Hajjar might not have been happy with how his team got to its opening win over Cardington Friday night, but he was happy with the result.
“Any time you can come out with a win you have to be happy,” said the Wildcat coach after his team held on for a 21-14 win over the Pirates.
North Union had five turnovers and several costly penalties, but still managed to come out with the triumph.
“Turnovers, penalties and field position. They will win you some games and they will cost you some games,” he said.
The Wildcats were able to overcome the miscues and held off a fierce attempt from the Pirates to come back in the fourth period.
“The defense responded,” Hajjar said. “It was a game of ebb and flow. We made a few key plays at the end.”
The Pirates got on the scoreboard first when Daniel Kill caught a short pass from Luke McCarrell and turned it into a 53-yard touchdown run. Branden Steckel added the PAT kick and Cardington had a 7-0 with 10:31 remaining in the opening period.
North Union sputtered early on with a series of three turnovers, but the Wildcats finally got the engine firing near the end of the second period. Wyatt Pertuset hauled in a 44-yard touchdown pass from Tim Davis. Luke Krawczyk added the conversion boot and the score was knotted 7-7 with 1:57 to go before half.
North Union had an edge in yardage in the first two quarters as the Wildcats outgained the Pirates 142-86. The Wildcats were hampered in their efforts with two fumbles and an interception in their first three possessions.
The home squad took a 14-7 lead on its first possession of the second half as Nate Hammons broke loose for a 46-yard scoring jaunt. Krawczyk knocked the conversion kick over the bar for the North Union advantage.
NU tried to extend the lead late in third as the Wildcats move the ball from their own 14, but a fumble at the 1 stalled the drive without any points.
The North Union defense came up bit with Wyatt Pertuset intercepting a pass. It took a couple of plays for the Wildcats to make the turnover pay off with points. Hammons raced around the right side for an eight-yard touchdown burst. The PAT kick was true by Krawczyk and the Wildcats led 21-7 with 10:35 to play in the contest.
Cardington responded with a big play as Devin Pearl hauled in a 54-yard scoring pass from McCarrell. Steckel’s kick cut the gap to 21-14 with 6:03 to play in the game.
North Union tried to put the game out of reach, but a fake punt near midfield gave the Pirates the ball back. Cardington drove down to the 20, but a second interception by Pertuset snuffed out the comeback bid.
Hammons led the Wildcats with 152 yards on 13 carries. Pertuset added two catches for 62 yards for NU.
Pearl hauled in four passes for 94 yards to top the Cardington offensive chart.
The North Union defense was stout between the scoring drives by the Pirates, forcing seven straight points and a turnover between Cardington scores.
North Union finished with a 310-208 edge in yardage.