By Gene Phelps
Special to the Gazette
ELLISTOWN – Charleston quarterback Kristian Gammage supplied a great deal of damage Friday to lead his Tigers to a 52-27 Class 2A second-round playoff win against East Union.
Gammage, a 5-foot-9 senior, scored on touchdown runs of 15, 10 and 7 yards, and threw an 18-yard TD pass to Chris Bradford for the Tigers’ 28 first-half points.
Gammage rushed for 149 yards on 20 carries. He played sparingly in the second half because of an injury.
“He’s fast, he’s quick,” East Union coach Kevin Walton said of Gammage. “We knew he was going to be hard to stop.”
The loss ended a banner year for East Union. The Urchins finished 9-3 overall, won their second straight division championship and reached the second round of the postseason for the first time under Walton’s direction.
“It was the best season we’ve had,” Walton said. “We’d never been to the second round of the playoffs. We’ve had back-to-back division championships.”
Charleston, a former Class 3A state champion and power, is now 9-4 and hosts Calhoun City in the 2A state quarterfinals this week.
The two teams, after going scoreless in the first quarter, combined to produce 49 points in the second quarter.
East Union scored its first-half touchdowns on Ty Walton passes of 19 yards to DeJuan Hubbard and 40 yards to Hayden Roberts. Hubbard also had a 75-yard kickoff return to answer Charleston’s first TD.
Walton was 15 of 26 for 186 yards passing. Hubbard finished with nine catches for 116 yards while Roberts had five catches for 73 yards.
After a scoreless third quarter, Charleston took a 44-21 lead on touchdown runs of 31 and 19 yards by A.J. Wren. His 19-yard TD came after the key fourth-quarter interception.
East Union’s second-half touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Colton Plunk. He finished with 41 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
Charleston’s Nathan Randolph scored on a 9-yard run with 2:30 remaining for the game’s final points. The Tigers rushed for 369 yards of their 395 yards total offense.
“I wanted to win, but that was one of the better teams we’ve played since I’ve been coaching here,” Walton said. “We fought tooth and nail with them. I was very proud of the boys.”