Flames get shut down by Union

Northgate’s Eric Hogan attempts to evade an army of Union defenders in last Friday’s loss. Photo by Michael Thomas for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

Coming off of a 29 - 28 win against OLSH on the road in week one, the Flames traveled to Union last Friday, but the road was not so kind this time around. Taking on the Scotties was far from a walk in the park. Union took the lead and the Flames were unable to get a spark on offense, falling to the Scotties 33 - 0.

The Flames torched Union by the score of 41 - 6 last year but it was a different story when they met on Friday night. After the game, Coach T. J Wiley said, “Did I think that we were going to lose 33 - 0, no. They're a very good football team. They're very athletic, and, they're hungry too.”

After a 22-yard return by Anthony Barbarino on the opening kick-off, the Flames looked to their passing game to get into the flow. Starting on their 40, Eric Hogan threw to Jacian Sustayta and Surron Adams with a mix of run plays in between. The offense looked to be finding their rhythm after they crossed midfield and entered Scotties' territory. But, after reaching the Union 30, the drive came to a screeching halt when Union picked off a Hogan pass.

The Flames forced the Scotties to punt on their first series, and again the Flames went to work, starting on the Union 45 after an Adams return. After a run by Adams, and Barbarino gashing the Union line for 35 yards, the Flames were knocking on the door at the Scotties' 23. But, after a false start penalty, the Scotties jumped a Northgate pass route, got the interception and returned for a Union TD with 1:34 left in the first quarter. Wiley talked about the interception, saying, “The kid made a tremendous play, to pick off a pass that hot, in the flat like that, it was a very good play. I could see them going far.” The Flames were down 7 - 0 after the extra point.

Northgate's next series ended with a missed field goal, and the Scotties, in turn, went 80 yards on four plays to score their second TD of the game with 8:55 left in the half. The extra was no good, and the Flames trailed 13 - 0.

The Flames were forced to punt on their next series, and the Scotties fared no better on their next possession, but with 1:07 left in the half, Northgate had the ball on their 40, but their hurry-up offense stalled on the Union 36 when the half came to an end. Wiley said later, “We were moving the ball. And, at half time, I felt so good. We stop them and score once in the third quarter and once in the fourth quarter, we win 14 - 13.”

Unfortunately, the Scotties didn't see it that way, and to start the second half, they went 65 yards on 10 plays to make the score 21 - 0 after the two-point conversion. Wiley spoke about the Flames' defense after the game, saying, “Our tackling was a little suspect tonight. We gotta clean that up.”

The Scotties scored again at the start of the 4th quarter, and again with 4:12 left in the game. And, the Northgate offense was just unable to get any traction in the 2nd half. When the 4th quarter came to an end, the Flames had been shutout 33 - 0. Afterwards Wiley said, “This one stung, but it's all about how you respond. We have to clean some things up.”