ELLISTOWN · East Union got a heaping helping of Hayden in their 26-22 comeback win over Northside on Friday.
Hayden Frazier's interception return for a touchdown pulled the Urchins to within three points and Hayden Roberts caught a Rett Johnson pass for a 49-yard touchdown to get the win. Roberts capped his special night with a game-preserving interception at the Urchin two with a second remaining.
"Frazier played it perfect and we talked about it all week, we knew the route from film and told him, it's going to be there, just step in front of it and pick it," East Union coach Todd Lott said. "He played it like he practiced it and I am super proud of him. He's just a ninth grader, he's a special kid and he's going to be really good.
"That gave us a chance and kinda put us back into the game to make it a one score game at that point. That makes you feel like you've got a fighting shot and we played great defense. Our defensive coaches had our guys prepared."
That touchdown at 11:03 in the fourth quarter gave the Urchins the break they needed and the game appeared to swing in their favor for the remainder of the game.
Roberts' heroics to cap the contest began with a fumble recovery by the Urchins at the Gator 46. Johnson hit the streaking Roberts on the game-winner on a second and 13 play. Edgar Zapata added the kick for game-winning lead for the Urchins at 26-22.
"That wasn't even a route we called, Hayden just ad-libbed that and he's a very intelligent football player, he just knew what he had to do to get open and Rett hit him," Lott said. "He's a really good football player."
Connor Timms scored the opening touchdown for East Union with 11:55 remaining in the first half on his one-yard run to tie the game at 6-6.
Colton Plunk scored the second Urchin touchdown on his four-yard run late in the third quarter to close the margin at 22-12.
"We just tried to turn it into a physical game that was ugly and it was pretty ugly except for a couple of plays where we did really well," Lott said.
"I want people to know that our coaching staff (Stephen Basil, Brandon Cherry, Scott Duley, Chris Lucius and Brian Browning) busted their tails and put together a great plan. They knew what we had to do to win and they have worked their hearts out."
· Turning Point: Frazier's 66-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter stopped a Northside drive and gave East Union the momentum.
· Point Man: Roberts caught the game-winning touchdown on a 49-yard pass from Johnson with 1:17 left and then intercepted Northside at the Urchin two and sealed the win.
· Talking Point: "We just came out the second half and did what we talk about everyday, just play each play and do what we do and we got a couple of breaks, we also created some turnovers and it really helped us in the second half. - Coach Lott
· East Union scored 20 unanswered points for the win after trailing 22-6 at the half.
· Sam Murry recovered a fumble at the Northside 46 to set up the winning touchdown.
· East Union (10-1) will play for the North title in the first time in school history as the Urchins travel to Calhoun City (9-2) on Friday.