Between Union County quarterback De’Arrius Smith and receiver Doug Brannon, it was only a matter of time before the combination would be lethal for Chapin on Friday night.
The Eagles had just taken a 21-20 lead before Union put up 17 points in the third quarter and 14 more in the fourth to close out a 51-21 Class 3A state playoff victory at Cecil Woolbright field.
Union County (7-6) plays South Pointe for the Upper State championship Friday.
Smith passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 110 yards and another score. All of Smith’s TDs went to Brannon, who had five catches for 170 yards.
After trailing 7-6, the Yellow Jackets took a 20-7 lead in the second quarter, with a Smith-to-Brannon connection of 48 yards and a 2-yard Ty Thomas run.
Chapin cut that lead when quarterback Logan Bailey hit Evan Estridge in the end zone with 37 seconds to go in the half.
The Eagles took a 21-20 lead on a 22-yard Bailey-to-Estridge connection to start the third quarter, but Union County shut out the Eagles 31-0 the rest of the way.
After Chapin took a 21-20 lead, Union County got a 29-yard field goal from Curtis Johnson to reclaim the lead at 23-21. Chapin faced a second-and-15 from its own 38 when J.D. Cheek picked off a pass at the Chapin 44-yard line and ran the ball down the sideline untouched for the score.
De’Arrius Smith: The Union quarterback went 17-for-24 in passing for 327 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed seven times for 110 yards and a TD.
Doug Brannon: The Yellow Jackets wide receiver caught all three of Smith’s TD passes and had five catches for 170 yards.
Ty Thomas: Union County’s go-to rusher picked up 106 yards and a TD on 17 carries.
Logan Bailey: The Chapin quarterback went 18-for-41 for 288 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions.
THEY SAID IT
“We just made too many mistakes. That pick-6, and they gave us problems blocking, gave us fits up front. We knew they had big play potential, and unfortunately we didn’t do much to stymie it during the third quarter, but hey, we’re going to get better. Nobody gave us a chance to be here four months ago and here we are, and that’s a victory in itself.” – Chapin coach Justin Gentry
“J.D.’s intercepiton changed the momentum. In the second half we settled down and played a lot better. If you look at it, the defense only gave up a couple of trick plays, they played pretty good most of the night.” – Union coach Steve Taneyhill
“We kept playing, we wanted to keep on playing, keep on trucking, and finish. We came together and finished.” – Union County quarterback De’Arrius Smith
128: Chapin’s passing yardage in the first quarter.
41: Chapin’s passing yardage in the second quarter.
582: Union County’s total yardage on the night, 255 yards on the ground and 327 through the air.
HOW THEY SCORED
U – Doug Brannon 15 pass from De’Airrius Smith (kick failed) 6:43
C – Kale Rhame 63 pass from Logan Bailey (Colin Kitchens kick) 4:25
U – Brannon 48 pass from D. Smith (Curtis Johnson kick) 4:19
U – Ty Thomas 2 run (Johnson kick) 2:43
C – Evan Estridge 9 pass from Bailey (Kitchens kick) :37
C – Estridge 22 pass from Bailey (Kitchens kick) 8:10
U – Johnson 29 field goal 5:44
U – J.D. Cheek 44 interception return (Johnson kick) 5:12
U – D. Smith 14 run (Johnson kick) 1:11
U – Brannon 33 pass from D. Smith (Johnson kick) 7:14
U – Shi Smith 11 run (Johnson kick) 5:14
Rushing: Union – Ty Thomas 17-106, De’Arrius Smith 7-110, Shi Smith 4-22, Mark Glenn 2-17. Chapin – Ben Fischer 9-30, Logan Bailey 16-47, Garrett Reinhart 1-2, Carver Koon 4-8.
Passing: Union – De’Arrius Smith 24-17-0. Chapin – Logan Bailey 41-18-2, Trad Beatty 2-1-0, Evan Estridge 1-0-0.
Receiving: Union – Shi Smith 3-37, Demarcus Brown 6-99, Doug Brannon 5-170, Montray Feaster 3-21. Chapin – Joe Flowers 8-67, Kale Rhame 1-63, Will Register 7-104, Evan Estridge 2-28, Ben Fischer 2-26.