In last week’s regular-season finale, Union blanked Battle 12-0 in Bristol, Va. On Saturday in Bullitt Park in the opening round of the VHSL Class 2 playoffs, the Bears mauled the Trojans 21-0.
Mason Polier scored twice, Aaron Stidham added another touchdown and Union pounded out 357 rushing yards in the Region 2D victory.
Union (9-2) will host Graham in the second round after the G-Men disposed of Virginia High 42-18 on Saturday.
The Bears’ meeting with the Trojans (5-6) was originally scheduled for Friday night but was postponed because of wet field conditions.
It was a wise decision.
On Saturday afternoon, the teams were greeted with cold temperatures but abundant sunshine.
Taking the opening kickoff, Union marched 65 yards in eight plays. Polier capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown and the Bears led 7-0.
Battle responded with a 13-play, 47-yard drive that stalled at the Union 15-yard line.
The Bears then went 85 yards in 11 plays. This time Polier pounded it in from a yard out to push the lead to 14-0 in the second quarter.
The Trojans put together another long drive, 12 plays, but Union stopped it at the Bears’ 23 just before halftime.
“It was tough playing them in back-to-back games,” said Union coach Travis Turner. “That option offense they run forces you to be very disciplined on defense. I thought when they got close to our goal line, our defense stood their ground.”
Stidham’s TD came in the fourth quarter after he broke through the Trojans’ defensive line and raced 52 yards to the Battle 1. On the next play, he forced his way into the end zone to give the Bears a 21-0 advantage with 8:20 left in the game.
“That was some of the best blocking out of the offensive line I’ve seen this year,” said Stidham, who finished with 117 yards on 16 carries. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Avery Jenkins added 10 rushes for 103 yards and Bryce Guerrant gained 63 yards on seven carries for Union. Polier finished with 80 yards on 11 rushes.
“I thought it was a typical first-round game,” Turner said. “Our offensive line and tight ends did a good job of blocking today. Overall I think we played pretty well.”