SPARTA — North Union quarterback Evan Jamison had a dominating performance in the first half to lead the Wildcats over the Highland Scots, 30-14, in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference football action Friday.
Going 15-for-18 with 208 yards in the first half, Jamison hit Wildcats’ running back Clay Hastings (three catches for 35 yards) with a 3-yard touchdown pass near the close of the first quarter. That, along with a Travis Laird (15 carries, 37 yards) scoring run earlier, gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
“He’s a great quarterback and they came out with a good game plan,” said Highland coach Chad Carpenter. “They have a lot of physical kids and it seemed that we just didn’t have any answers to what they were trying to do to us.”
Not only did the Scots lose four out of their five fumbles, North Union (which had 360 total yards) made the Scots pay dearly both times they scored.
“Turnovers, of course, were huge again,” said Carpenter. “That’s something that we’re going to have to try to correct if we want to take that next step.”
The Scots got a break when Hastings fumbled the ball near midfield with 2:22 to go in the half. Highland running back Justin Staton (20 carries, 166 yards) took the ball 24 yards on second down, all the way to the Wildcats 23. On the next play it was Staton again, this time taking it in for a touchdown and cutting North Union’s lead to 14-7.
With less than two minutes left in the half, Jamison struck again. This time the Wildcats marched it 80 yards on five straight completed passes to Jon Widby (three catches, 34 yards for the game), Klark Ransome (two catches, 21 yards) and Laird, who took the final pass for a 2-yard completion and a score to make it a 21-7 Wildcats lead at the half.
The Scots were not yet done. With 8:31 to go in the third, Staton took a third-and-three handoff from quarterback Jacob Ulrey (5-for-16, 52 yards) and exploded for 72 yards for a score to cut the Wildcat lead to 21-14.
“[North Union] missed a couple of blocks and we took advantage of it,” said Carpenter.
North Union got the ball back and took it down to the Highland 10. Highland linebacker Clay Chipps sacked Jamison on third down for a 10-yard loss. Chipps was hurt on the play and had to come out of the game with an apparent ankle injury. He was seen on crutches after the game, but there is no word on his condition.
The Wildcats faked a field goal on fourth down and Ransome managed to run the ball down to the Highland 5. The Scots got the ball back but fumbled it on third-and-eight near their own goal line. Hastings recovered the ball and took it into the endzone to put the Wildcats up, 27-14.
The Scots managed to stop the Wildcats’ passing game in the second half. Amazingly, Jamison would throw for only nine yards after halftime.
“We made a few adjustments,” said Carpenter. “We tried to minimize what they were trying to do. It’s just a cat and mouse game.”
The news that MOAC rival Pleasant lost to Buckeye Valley elicited a roar from both sides of the field as the North Union fans started chanting their new mantra in the closing minutes of the game, “Bring on Pleasant, Bring on Pleasant.”
“It’s just one of those things where we’ve just got to come out tomorrow and just keep working on getting better,” said Carpenter.