By Bob Jones
Special to the Daily
With a full moon smiling over the Union Grove football field on Senior Night, the Ola Mustangs stole the ball and the game in the waning minutes, nipping the Wolverines 17-14.
Dylan Parker's fourth quarter interception led to Jacob Law's 31-yard field goal with 2:16 left to play and the Mustangs (3-5 overall, 2-3 in 3A-AAAA) earned their second win in a row.
It was the team's first ever win against Union Grove.
"This was a great win for us tonight," Ola head coach John Kovzel said. "Our defense doesn't get a lot of credit, but they stepped up tonight."
With the loss, Union Grove dropped to 2-6, 2-3.
It looked like it was going to be a Moon show on full-moon evening.
Union Grove running back T.J. Moon carried 10 times for 60 yards and a pair of touchdown in the first half to lead the Wolverines to a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
But the Ola Mustangs proved to be quite resilient.
Moon opened the game's scoring with a five-yard touchdown run after carrying three times for 29 yards earlier in the game's first drive.
Ola followed with a nice drive that ended with an interception of a Neal Gandee pass by Union Grove's Jonathan Selfe.
But the Mustangs bounced back with a fumble recovery on the next play and scored on a three-yard slashing run by Trey McBride.
After Moon's second touchdown (a 10-yard run off left tackle at 5:57 of the second), Ola marched resolutely down field to tie the game just before the half ended. Aided by a personal foul call against the Wolverines, Ola tied the game on an eight-yard run by Ryan Arnold.
The full moon might have been playing its tricks on Union Grove, as the Wolves fumbled the kickoff, giving Ola another chance just before halftime.
The Mustangs, however, were unable to convert, falling victim to an offensive interference penalty in the end zone after McBride had made what appeared to be diving touchdown pass reception.
Five punts ended short drives in the back-and-forth third and fourth periods with the two defenses flexing their muscles.
Then Parker picked off Ty Moore's errant pass and returned the ball 14 yards to the Union Grove 42. Gandee tossed a 19-yard pass to Cody Adkins, landing the ball of the Union Grove 20. The Wolverine defense stiffened, and Law was called upon. The kick wasn't very pretty, but it got the job done for the winning margin. The Wolverines ran out of downs on three Moore incomplete passes after a big 10-yard sack by Mustang Justin Gant.
Moon had a good night, running 19 times for 95 yards and the two first half touchdowns. Moore was 7 of 15 for 90 yards and the only costly interception. Justin Ivey caught two passes for 51 yards, one a 47-yarder that led immediately to Moon's second touchdown. Zach Butts led the Wolverine defense with nine tackles, and Wesley Amick had seven.
Ola's running game was balanced with Arnold carrying 20 times for 68 yards, and McBride 13 times for 64. Adkins caught two passes for 19 yards and McBride two for 22 yards. Gant (7 tackles) and Parker (6) led the Mustang defense.