With their backs against the wall, the Chester Cyclones were unable to clinch their first playoff berth since 2012, as a balanced attack from the Union County Yellow Jackets proved too much in a 24-7 decision.
“We just didn’t play as well as we needed to get in,” said Chester head coach Victor Floyd.
The Cyclones found themselves stymied a few times in the red zone in the first half, including being stopped at the Union Co. 1 yard line just before halftime.
Trailing 12-0 at halftime, it looked as if Chester could pull off a comeback similar to the one Lancaster completed on the Yellow Jackets a week ago after they trailed 16-0 at halftime, as Williams led the Cyclones down the field on a 65-yard drive capped off by their lone touchdown of the evening on a run by Pha’Leak Brown. However, Union County responded with a four-minute, 67-yard scoring drive of their own on the very next possession, pushing the lead back up with time running out for Chester.
Midway through the fourth quarter with the Yellow Jackets leading 24-7, Chester was on the move hoping to cut the deficit when Union senior defensive back Dee Curenton intercepted a pass from Williams, ultimately putting the game away.
Union Co. quarterback De’arrius Smith led the Yellow Jacket offense that totaled up 449 yards of total offense down the field for most of the night, passing for 282 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Shi Smith and Montay Feaster. Shi Smith also led the way for the visiting receiving corps, with 102 yards in addition to his score.
Williams led the way on the ground for the Cyclones, rushing 27 times for 121 yards. He also passed for 75 yards, including a 28-yard strike to John Erby in the first quarter that proved to be Chester’s longest pass play of the night.
“We blew some opportunities in the first half,” Floyd said of his halftime message when down 12-0.
“We didn’t get in when in the red zone, we could have easily have been up at halftime.”
UC - Ty Thomas 1 yd. run (pass failed) 4:06
UC - De’arrius Smith 7 yd. run (pass failed) 5:43
CHS - Pha'Leak Brown 1 yd. run (PAT good) 9:36
UC - Shi Smith 27 yd. reception (run failed) 5:30
UC - Feaster 20 yd. reception (run failed) 11:53