Union Grove made some history Friday night during its homecoming game against Region 5-AA opponent Carver-Atlanta.
The Wolverines recorded the first shutout in team history, defeating the Carver-Atlanta Panthers 25-0. Union Grove freshman running back Owen High rushed for 163 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Dustin Alley completed 8 of 16 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
With the victory, Union Grove (4-3-1, 2-1 in the region) cemented a playoff spot for the second straight season and will look to improve its seeding in the upcoming weeks with games against Blessed Trinity and Grady. Carver falls to 2-4 on the season.
Union Grove's "offense by committee" got off to a slow start, but finished the first half with a lead. Alley started his second game at quarterback and put the Wolverines on the scoreboard with 1:19 left in the second quarter. A 25-yard pass connected with senior tight end Terence Haley, who made a diving reception in the end zone to give the Wolverines a 6-0 lead. The point-after was no good and the lead stood at the half.
Former Union Grove starting quarterback Travis Burks took it upon himself to energize the team in the third quarter. Burks took the opening kickoff and ran 67 yards down the left sideline to give Union Grove great field position.
Union Grove didn't score on the possession, but Burks' play still seemed to light a fire under the Wolverines.
"I noticed at halftime that the guys didn't have their usual fire, so I figured I had to do what I could to get the intensity back," said Burks, a sophomore. "I just wanted to get the third quarter started right. My guys gave me some good blocks it would've been great if I scored a touchdown."
After recovering a fumble by Carver quarterback Roderick McMillan in Carver territory, Union Grove scored on High's 3-yard touchdown run three plays later. The 2-point conversion failed and the Wolverines led 12-0.
Union Grove's defense held strong for the rest of the game and the offense woke up with strong runs from Alley, Justin Pair and High. Running back Trevor Jones eventually scored from three yards out with 2:08 left in the third to make the score 19-0.
High's second touchdown, a 16-yard scamper in the fourth, put the final score at 25-0 and Union Grove head coach Scott Mason equally in a pretty good mood.
"It looks like the offense has finally come together. We've made several changes and they seem to be working," Mason said. "I'm pleased with the team's whole effort tonight."