By Mark Carpenter –
The successful 2016 season for the West Union Dragons football squad continued on Oct. 7 as the Dragons traveled to Franklin Furnace to do battle with the Green Bobcats, a team they had never beaten and had suffered a tough one-point loss to the previous year. A different West Union team turned the tables this time as they handed the host Bobcats a solid 38-20 defeat.
The game got off to a rip-roaring start for the Dragons as Cory Clifford gathered in the opening kickoff and took it all the way to the house to give the Dragons the quick 6-0 advantage. After the two teams traded punts, the Bobcats score to tie the game at 6, but the Dragons answered with a six-play drive highlighted by a 40-yard run by quarterback Ryan Rothwell. The drive ended with a Chris Silhavy touchdown run and the two-point conversion put West Union up 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Midway through the second period, the Bobcats scored again but failed on the two-point try, leaving the Dragons with a two-point lead. That margin increased when Rothwell threw a 62-yard scoring pass to running back Clayton Madden and the Silhavy conversion put the Dragons up 22-12 at the halftime break.
The third quarter began with Green turning the ball over on downs and the Dragons capitalizing with another Silhavy scoring run and two-point conversion to make it 30-12, but the Cats responded with a nine-play scoring drive to pull back to within 30-20 early in the fourth quarter.
An interception by West Union’s Zach Best thwarted one Green scoring drive and on their ensuing possession, the Dragons scored on a pass from Rothwell to receiver Brandan Cornell. It was Rothwell to Best for the two-point conversion and the Dragons had put the final nail in the coffin of a huge 38-20 road win over the Bobcats.
In the win, West Union was paced by Silhavy’s 20 carries for 96 yards, with Madden adding eight rushes for 73. At quarterback, Rothwell was 8 for 15 for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Dragon defense also came up big, getting quarterback sacks from Jordan Hendricks, Tylor Egnor, Robbie Nehus, Damon Webb, Silhavy, and Anthony Barr.
“I was so proud of our team tonight,” said West Union head coach Scott McFarland. “We focused on improving our mental toughness and cutting down on mistakes, penalties, and turnovers, which turned out to be the difference in the game. Our defense made a lot of plays in their backfield after the opening kickoff set the tone for us. We have played close games every year with Green and it’s nice to pull off a victory tonight for our seniors and for Coach Darby, who the team dedicated the game to.”
“Tonight, we put the past behind us and finished the game strong. It was a great total team effort by the Dragons, proud of this team.”
Fans have two more opportunities to see the 2016 Dragons in action. On Oct, 21, the West Union squad crosses the river to battle the Mason County Royals and then on Oct. 28 will be back at Freedom Field in West Union to close out 2016, facing off with the North Adams Devils.