By Anthony Rhoads
Junior quarterback Dustin Alley completed 10-of-21 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns while adding two more rushing touchdowns to lead the Union Grove Wolverines to a 34-14 victory over Luella Friday night.
"Dustin's like that. He doesn't look all that great in practice but the kids believe in him," Union Grove head coach Mike McDonald said. "He's unshakeable, really. You just can't shake him up. He's going to play tough."
The victory at Luella High School was McDonald's first as a head coach.
"It's a good feeling to beat a very good team in Luella," McDonald said. "They played hard. They're going to have a good team and they've got a good future with a great coaching staff. It was a battle for us."
Union Grove's defense rose to the occasion and shut down the Lions in the first half. Luella managed just 10 total yards and no first downs in the first half. Luella didn't get a first down until the 6:10 mark of the third quarter when Markis Fortner ran for 40 yards.
The Union Grove defense also forced three turnovers (one interception and two fumbles) that led to three touchdowns.
"The defense played phenomenal tonight," McDonald said. "We played fantastic defense against Luella, we knew we were going to have to."
Kyle Lord led Union Grove in receiving with three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown while Blake Vance caught three passes for 36 yards.
Union Grove had a pretty balanced rushing attack as Alley, Owen High and Michael Lawrence each gained about 40 yards each.
Fortner led all rushers with 104 yards on 14 carries.
Union Grove led 20-0 at about midway through the second quarter, but Luella's Johnny Belt returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
Luella cut the deficit to 20-14 when Cody Haffly connected with Harrison Johnson on a 15-yard pass late in the third quarter.
Score by quarters
U 7 13 0 14 34
L 0 7 7 0 14
U Dustin Alley to Kyle Lord 10 pass 8:31 (Doug Carter kick)
U Alley to Blake Vance 80 pass 8:46 (Carter kick)
U Alley 2 run 6:58 (kick failed)
L Johnny Belt 92 kickoff return 6:44 (Andrew Heisley kick)
L Cody Haffly to Harrison Johnson 15 pass :30 (Heisley kick)
U Alley 11 run 10:37 (Carter kick)
U Michael Lawrence 20 run 4:45 (Carter kick)