STORY CITY — The Roland-Story football team struggled to stop the run on defense and find consistency on offense in a 42-12 loss to Union Friday at Story City.
The Norsemen gave up 381 rushing yards and they only compiled 141 yards of total offense. They also turned the ball over three times in falling to 1-5 on the season and 0-2 in Class 2A District 7.
“Once again it was little things that made the difference,” Roland-Story head coach Aaron Stensland said. “Two fumbles were big in the game, and we have to fix that. We only had four penalties again Friday night, which tells me we are playing really disciplined in that aspect of the game once again. But we really need to focus on controlling the ball and clock and hanging on to the ball.”
Union led 21-0 at the half. The Knights added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to go up 35-0.
Roland-Story came back with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Zach Twedt caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Luke Patton and Ty Thompson scooped up a fumble rand returned it 61 yards to paydirt.
“I was proud of our kids,” Stensland said. “Once again I thought they battled all the way to the end of the game, as was evident with the fumble recovery and return for a touchdown late in the game by Ty Thompson. I thought Luke Patton stepped in the second half at quarterback and gave the team a spark and had some nice throws down the field.”
Union scored the game’s final touchdown on a 62-yard run from Brayden Grosse. Grosse burned the Norse for 294 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Union,” Stensland said. “They had a great plan and played a great game. How good they are was probably hidden a little bit by their schedule — they came in with five losses, but four were to ranked teams and the other was a 3A team. So we knew they would be a really tough opponent looking for a win.”
Brandon Thompkins added 93 yards and a touchdown rushing and 58 yards passing for the Knights. Hunter Heitmann caught four passes for 49 yards, Jordan Carey had one 40-yard reception and Brandon Stech made 3.5 tackles for loss in helping Union improve to 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the district.
Patton completed 5 of 19 passes for 85 yards with an interception and Kyle Selby ran for 54 yards on 16 carries for Roland-Story. Adam McIlrath added a 46-yard reception, Twedt had two catches for 14 yards and Wyatt Bunn made one grab for 14.
On defense Twedt was all over the field in finishing with 14 tackles, including 10 solo stops. McIlrath tacked on 9.5 tackles, Selby four, Jimmy Philipsen and Will Bunn 3.5 apiece, Thompson three to go along with his fumble recovery and Logan Schnurr made three stops behind the line.
Next up for Roland-Story will be defending district champion Benton (5-1, 1-1). The No. 7 Bobcats are coming off a 17-3 loss at No. 10 Nevada.
“Right now, with what is left in our season, it is all about us and our seniors,” Stensland said. “How we finish the season will speak volumes about the type of character we have and what type of team we want to be remembered for.”
Roland-Story’s game with Benton will take place at 7:30 p.m. this Friday in Van Horne.
Union 42, Roland-Story 12
U 13 8 14 7 - 42
RS 0 0 0 12 - 12
U - Jacob Carey 9 run (Marc Mahood kick), 5:18.
U - Brayden Grosse 19 run (kick failed), 0:48.
U - Grosse 14 run (Brandon Tompkins run), 3:00.
U - Grosse 4 run (Mahood kick), 6:09.
U - Tompkins 36 run (Mahood kick), 3:22.
RS - Zach Twedt 9 pass from Luke Patton (run failed), 10:29.
RS - Ty Thompson 61 fumble return (run failed), 6:28.
U - Grosse 62 run (Mahood kick), 4:37.
Team statistics U R-S
First downs 22 8
Rushes-yards 48-381 24-56
Passing 7-15-0 5-20-1
Passing yards 98 85
Total yards 479 141
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Punts-average 3-24.3 6-34.3
Penalties-yards 8-60 5-35
Rushing: U - Brayden Grosse 28-294, Brandon Tompkins 10-93, Jacob Carey 5-9, Hunter Heitmann 4-4, Brandon Stech 1-(-19). RS - Kyle Selby 16-54, Twedt 5-2, Luke Patton 2-0, Wyatt Bunn 1-0.
Passing: U - Tompkins 6-14-0-58, Grosse 1-1-0-40. RS - Patton 5-19-1-85, Bunn 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: U - Heitmann 4-49, Jordan Carey 1-40, Grosse 2-9. RS - Adam McIlrath 1-46, Twedt 2-16, Bunn 1-14, Ty Thompson 1-9.
Tackles: U - Seth Wirtz 6, Heitmann 5.5, Stech 5, Cameron Bruess 3. RS - Twedt 14, McIlrath 9.5, Selby 4, Jimmy Philipsen 3.5, Will Bunn 3.5, Thompson 3, Logan Schnurr 3.
Fumble recoveries: U - Grosse. RS - Thompson.
Interceptions: U - Michael Niebergall.