The Union County Fightin’ Tigers will take on the Northview Chiefs this Friday at 7 p.m. The winner will move on to the FHSAA 1 Rural State Championship game. While the Tigers enter Friday’s game as the underdogs, they have refused to go down without a fight at any point this season.
Union County’s season got off to a less-than-ideal start with an opening 33-14 loss to University Christian on Aug. 26. However, since then, the Tigers have compiled an 8-1 record thanks in part to their dynamic offense. Since their season opening loss, they have yet to score under 20 points in a game. The Tigers have averaged 34.9 points per game this season.
The Tigers’ rushing attack has powered their high-scoring offense all year long. According to their MaxPreps page, Union County has compiled 2711 yards on the ground and 7.6 yards per carry this season. Senior running back Rayvon Durant has led the charge with 1483 yards on a mind-blowing 8.2 yards per carry. He also leads the team with 16 rushing touchdowns as well.
Senior quarterback AJ Cortese has made his mark on the Tigers’ offense as well. He has chipped in with 1277 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 63% of his passes. Additionally, Cortese has racked up 638 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. Union County’s dual-threat quarterback has combined with their electric backfield to give them an extremely high-powered offense.
The Path Through The Playoffs For Union County
The Fightin’ Tigers have faced some tough competition throughout their postseason run. With a 6-2 regular season record, Union County secured a bye for the regional quarterfinals. They proceeded to take care of business against the Madison County Cowboys in their playoff debut. Durant ran for 150 yards and Cortese picked up two touchdowns on the ground to lead the Tigers to a 27-16 victory.
Union County’s next challenge came in their regional final matchup against the Lafayette Hornets. This time, the Tigers dismantled their opponent with ease, securing a 41-6 win to move on to the state semifinals. Durant and Cortese put together another pair of stellar performances. Durant finished with 155 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, while Cortese added on with 89 yards and one touchdown on seven carries. Senior running back Dayviontae Thompson also made some noise with 48 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries.
Union County Head Coach Andrew Thomas credits his team’s preparedness for every opponent they have faced for their success this year. He noted how his players have actively watched film and worked on their gameplans throughout the season.
Northview Looking To Finish Off Strong
Despite their success to this point, Union County will have their work cut out for them against the Northview Chiefs. The Chiefs have compiled a 12-0 record this season, having won all but two of their games by double-digit margins. Senior running back Jamarkus Jefferson has put up some astonishing numbers for Northview. According to his MaxPreps page, he has ran for 2093 yards and 41 touchdowns this season alone. Needless to say, keeping the Chiefs’ offense contained will be a heavy task for the Tigers, but also a necessary one if they want to advance to the state championship.
Kickoff between Union County and Northview is set for 7 p.m. this Friday at Northview High School.