UNION — The message was simple for Chester after seeing Union County reel off 20 unanswered points to claim a 20-13 halftime lead Friday at the Union County Stadium.
I just told them what we have been telling them all week, Chester coach Anthony Sterling said. I said that if you want it bad enough, then go get it. I told them that the choice was yours and it would be up to you as to what you wanted to do.
The Cyclones made the decision to go get it. They outscored the Yellow Jackets, 29-6, in the final two quarters to claim a crucial 42-26 victory.
That, coupled with Clinton s upset victory over Woodruff, gives the Cyclones the Region 3-AAA championship and a number-one seed in the Upstate playoffs which begin next week.
Using a electrifying ground attack, Chester built a 13-0 lead on a pair of touchdown runs from Durrell Rambert, covering 7 and 48-yards, respectively. Union County, however, came roaring back behind its potent aerial attack.
Guided by former USC quarterback Steve Tanneyhill as coach, the Yellow Jackets appeared unstoppable with a mixture of short passes in the flat and deep throws. Shrine Bowl quarterback Keiston Smith tossed a pair of a 27-yard strikes to Kaylay Jones, the latter coming just 2:23 before the half.
The second half, however, was a different story.
Chester took the opening kickoff and drove 64 yards in seven plays, capped by a 7-yard run from quarterback Tommy Sanders. Union answered with Smith running 4 yards in the end zone for a 26-19 Yellow Jacket edge.
But then, the Cyclones immediately regained momentum when Jemarcus Moore returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to tie the score, 26-26.
After the defense finally was able to slow Union County, Chester continued to roll offensively. After a 24 yard pass to Melvin Jackson to the 12, Sanders connected with Quan Caldwell on a 10-yard touchdown.
On the next possession, Sanders found Caldwell again, this time on a 43-yard score, putting Chester in control, 40-26, early in the fourth.
As word began to spread about the Woodruff loss, the Cyclones began to savor the sweet taste of being region champs.
We worked real hard and been through so much, Sterling said. It was our mindset to take one step at a time. These guys worked hard and really deserves this.
Chester 42 Union Co. 26
C Derrell Rambert 7-yard run (Matt Kennedy kick)
C Rambert 48-yard run (kick failed)
U Trayvond Davis 3-yard run (Brandon Shetley kick)
U Keiston Smith 27-yard pass to Kalay Jones (Shetley kick)
U Smith 27-yard pass to Jones (kick failed)
C Tommy Sanders 2-yard run
U Smith 4-yard run (pass failed)
C Jemarcus Moore 96-yard kickoff return (Kennedy kick)
C Sanders 10-yard pass to Quan Caldwell (Kennedy kick)
C Sanders 43-yard pass to Caldwell (Kennedy kick)
C Union quarterback sacked in end zone for safety
; Chester ; Union Co.
RUSHING Chester: Lorenzo Wright 11-86, Derrell Rambert 14-82, Tommy Sanders 8-36, Quan Caldwell 2-(-2), Broderick Roscoe 6-(-2). Union: Chris Booker 1-7, Trayvond Davis 12-52, Keiston Smith 15-35, Adrian Brown 6-18, Victor Ruth 1-2.
PASSING Chester : Tommy Sanders 7-13-0-129. Union : Keiston Smith 19-34-0-245.
RECEIVING Chester : Melvin Jackson 2-48, Quan Caldwell 4-73, Durrell Rambert 1-9. Union: Chris Booker 5-47, Victor Ruth 7-81, Trayvond Davis 5-47, Kalay Jones 2-54, TJ Foster 1-20.
RECORDS Chester 6-4, 4-1 in Region 3-AAA, Union Co. 5-5, 2-3.