IN CHARGE: Union QB Grady Davenport has been excellent in the first two playoff games, where he has completed 79 percent of his 43 passes for 378 yards and five TDs. He also has 69 yards rushing.
Editor’s Note: The December Union Boundary was published the day before the state championship game. That game will be reviewed in the January Union Boundary.
Union played for the state championship, thanks to the performance of a solid senior class that overcame adversity and knocked off rival and four-time state champion Jenks 45-21 on Nov. 18 in Owasso.
Shamari Brooks and Grady Davenport had big nights of offense.
Brooks ran for a Backyard Bowl record of 270 yards when the two rivals collided in September. But that didn’t matter because the Redskins lost to the Trojans that night.
A TU commit, Brooks had another big game with 250 total yards, along with four touchdowns – three rushing and one receiving. His rushing totals were 189 yards with scores of 23, one and 20. Still, some high numbers, and, it mattered most because the Redskins won.
With the win, Union snapped a four-game losing streak to the rival Trojans.
Union also returned to the 6AI state championship for the first time in two years. The Redskins went for their first since Class 6A split into two divisions, eighth in 15 years and ninth in school history.
Davenport, also a senior, passed for 174 yards on 17-of-22 attempts and two touchdowns.
“I think my hat is off to the offensive line,” said Davenport, who earned the starting job at the start of the season. “I don’t think I got sacked once. I had good protection all night and it just gave me a whole lot of time to make things happen.
“We had not beaten them in a while,” Davenport said. “It feels really great. We know we are progressing.
Union’s last win against Jenks was in the regular season of 2014.
The Redskins met Norman North on Oct. 14 and lost 30-27 in Norman.
Like Jenks before them, Union looked forward to the rematch against the unbeaten Timberwolves.
Norman North’s October win against the Redskins allowed it to win District 6AI-2, forcing Union into the No. 2 seed.
“I’m excited for it because we came up short the first time,” Davenport said. “I think we have gotten better throughout the season, I think they have gotten better throughout the season. But I’m just glad we got another shot at them.”
In the playoff game against Jenks, it appeared as if the Trojans were on their way to winning again when Ian Corwin hit Jordon Curtis for a 67-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game.
Union was then forced to punt on its first possession.
“We kept our heads up in this game,” Davenport said. “We told ourselves we were not going to get down.”
The Redskins would score on their next possession as Brooks scored from 23 yards. The go-ahead score came with 10:58 left in the second quarter, when Davenport hit junior C. J. Moore with a five-yard pass.
Although Jenks would tie the score, Union never trailed again.
The Redskins led 21-14 at halftime. They opened the second half with a 32-yard field goal from Noah Rauchenberg. That was the beginning of some drama.
Curtis, an Arkansas commit, took the ensuing kickoff 91 yards, cutting the Union lead to three points. Jenks would never score again as the Union defense shut its offense down the rest of the night.
Tre Brown, an OU commit, would take the following kickoff 99 yards and it was 31-21.
“I was standing on the sideline and I said, ‘Tre is going to take that one back,’” Davenport said. “I said, ‘He’s going to break it! He’s going to break it!’ We just had to stay hyped for the whole game. Our mindset was set at 0-0 to whole time.”
Union would get two more TDs with Brooks scoring both, each on a run and a pass.
When asked about gaining the role at the start of the season, Davenport was grateful for it as well as playing in one of the biggest high school rivalries in the country.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” he said. “I think I have progressed throughout the year and I’m just very thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given.
“I know people in Texas and Arkansas that are watching the football game,” Davenport said. “It gets intense and hyped.”