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Union wears Region 3-1A crown

By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
November 9, 2002
UNION Union captured its first division or region football championship in school history Friday night as an 18-13 victory over previously-unbeaten Puckett gave the Yellowjackets the Region 3-1A title.
Union, 8-3 overall and 8-1 in 3-1A, will host a Class 1A first-round playoff game next Friday. Puckett, 9-1 and 8-1, will also host a first-round game.
The Wolves outgained Union 128-118 in the first half, but the Jackets held a 183-78 advantage over the second half to finish with a 301-206 edge.
Puckett lost three fumbles and had three passes picked off.
The game was still up for grabs until Derrick Harris picked off a Mario Robinson pass at the Union 24 with 1:12 remaining. Three plays and a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Puckett ran out the clock.
Union went up 6-0 on its second possession, driving 40 yards on eight plays following a 19-yard punt by Matt Edwards. Anthony Johnson scored from four yards out with 4:46 to go in the first quarter. A try for two failed.
Puckett had the ball at the Union 31 early in the second quarter, but Robinson lost a fumble on fourth down with Ray Harper recovering for the Jackets.
Later in the period, the Wolves had second-and-8 at the Union 25 only to come up empty again.
An interception by Zach Robinson enabled Union to run out the first half with a 6-0 lead.
Union marched 67 yards on 11 plays on its second possession of the second half to go up 12-0. Johnson rumbled 12 yards up the middle for the touchdown with 4:52 to go in the third quarter. Another two-point play failed.
Johnson finished with 160 yards on 26 carries.
The Wolves took advantage of a Quincy Patrick fumble at the Union 22 to get their first score. Three plays later, Mario Robinson scored on an 11-yard run. Bill Stevens' extra point attempt hit the left upright and bounced back leaving Union with a 12-6 lead and 1:49 showing in the third quarter.
Union responded with a nine-play, 73-yard drive to go up 18-6 with 10:18 to play. Patrick teamed with Jordan Robinson for a 29-yard pickup to the Puckett 44 and then capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown toss to a wide open Cordis Thompson. A two-point pass failed.
Union had held the Wolves midway through the fourth quarter, but Marcus Gill's fourth-and-15 interception wound up being a break for Puckett when he fumbled and the Wolves recovered at the Union 6. Terrell Jackson scored on a 2-yard run on third down. Stevens' PAT pulled the Wolves to within 18-13 with 7:33 left.
Following the touchdown, Union drove 62 yards from its 8 to the Puckett 30 where a fumble recovery gave the Wolves one final shot at a win with 1:43 to go.
Harris ended that bid with his interception with 1:12 showing.
Harper finished with 47 yards on 11 carries for Union.