LA PORTE CITY – If there was a fat lady singing, none of the Union Knights heard her.
Trailing by 19 points with 8:43 left to play, the Knights roared back to snatch victor from the jaws of defeat.
Quarterback Jay Scheel hit Mitch Dierks for a 4-yard touchdown with 58 seconds remaining to cap the unlikely comeback, elevating the eighth-ranked Knights to a 34-33 win over No. 7 Waukon in a Class 2A District 3 battle Friday night at Union Field.
“The thing we learned no matter how far down you get you are always in it,” Hadachek said in a postgame interview. “We just came together in that fourth quarter.”
Waukon (5-1, 3-1) was in control, breaking long runs and capitalizing on turnovers by a pesky defense. The tables turned as the Indians lost two fumbles in the last half of the fourth, giving Union the ball in Waukon territory.
A fumbled punt recovered by Brian Dunkelberger gave the Knights the ball on the 24-yard line. Five plays later and Max Thomsen punched it in from one yard out, closing the gap to 33-20 after a missed extra point.
Waukon’s next possession last two plays, ending in another fumble and giving the Knights the ball on the Indians 34. Scheel rushed for 19 yards. Andrew Osuna followed with a 14-yard gain and a 1-yard TD with 4:06 to play, pulling the Knights within 33-27.
The Knights (5-1, 3-0) defense stood strong, and Will Crees’ sack of Josh Thorson forced a punt that Scheel returned to the Waukon 30 to start the game winning drive.
Waukon didn’t fold, threatening by advancing to the Union 23, but time ran out as they tried to spike the ball since they started the drive without a timeout.
When did the Knights start to believe they could claim the victory?
“From start to finish,” Union standout lineman Josh Clark said.
Scheel, who had an 11-yard TD run late in the second quarter, finished with 163 rushing yards and more than 100 passing yards. Osuna added 115 rush yards.
Brady Petersen hit the game-winning extra point, and added field goals of 27 and 22 yards for the Knights.
The Knights were able to overcome Waukon’s tough rush attack and numerous miscues, including five turnovers. Union Coach Joe Hadachek noticed fans leaving early and had a message for them.
“If you don’t want to come back that’s fine, because you better stick around when these guys are playing for four quarters,” Joe Hadachek said in a postgame interview. “We don’t need fair weather fans. We need true fans. To all the fans that were there until the final tick on the clock my hats off to them.”
The comeback spoiled a big game by Waukon’s Marcus Weymiller. The Indians running back rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Weymiller showed his explosiveness, putting Union in a hole with two 80-yard TD runs to open each half for the Waukon offense.
Parker Hesse rushed for a pair of touchdowns, including a 31-yard TD to put Waukon up 33-14 before the comeback.
The game’s boxscore:
Score 33 34
FD 11 24
Rush-yds 29-356 54-297
Pass yds 53 110
C-A-I 4-11-1 9-25-3
Total yds 409 407
Fum-lost 4-3 2-2
Punts-avg 6-29.3 4-35.25
Pen-yds 8-51 7-60
Score by quarters
Rushing – Waukon: Marcus Weymiller 10-213, Parker Hesse 10-117, Josh Thorson 1-(-5), Cole Ewing 6-30, Team 2-1; Union: Jay Scheel 26-163, Andrew Osuna 23-115, Trev Hadachek 4-18, Max Thomsen 1-1.
Passing – Waukon: Thorson 3-7-1-22, Hesse 1-4-31; Union: Scheel 9-24-3-110, Hadachek 0-1-0-0.
Receiving – Waukon: Hunter Hammel 1-31, Weymiller 1-16, Hesse 1-5, Glyeb Ewing 1-1; Union: Will Crees 3-55, Brady Petersen 2-33, Mitch Dierks 3-14, Brian Dunkelberger 1-8.
Wau- Weymiller 80 run (Ewing kick)
UC – Petersen 27 FG
Wau- Hesse 45 run (Ewing kick)
UC – Scheel 11 run (Hadachek run)
UC – Petersen 22 FG
Wau- Weymiller 80 run (Ewing kick)
Wau- Weymiller 9 run (kick blocked)
Wau – Hesse 31 run (run failed)
UC – Thomsen 1 run (kick failed)
UC – Osuna 1 run (Petersen kick)
UC – Dierks 4 pass from Scheel (Petersen kick)