UNION – Seeking to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2007 in a season that much success was predicted, Union scored the first three times it had the football – the first two after gaining turnovers – en route to posting a commanding 33-14 Mid-State 38 Conference-Delaware Division victory over arch rival Elizabeth in Friday night’s home-opener at Cooke Memorial Field.
Union evened its overall and Delaware Division records at 1-1, while defending Delaware Division champion Elizabeth slipped to 0-2 overall for the first time since 2010 and is now also 0-2 in the division.
Union has now won its last four home games vs. Elizabeth.
Here’s a look at that streak and the last time Elizabeth defeated Union at home:
2013: Union 33, Elizabeth 14 – at Union
2011: Union 43, Elizabeth 21 – at Union
2009: Union 28, Elizabeth 10 – at Union
2008: Union 15, Elizabeth 7 – at Union, N2, G4 quarterfinals
2007: Elizabeth 20, Union 0 – at Union
The Farmers were, once again, led by senior running back Jamauri Bogan, who made first-year head coach Lou Grasso Jr.’s home debut at Union a successful one.
Bogan – up until there was 4:33 left in the game – carried 26 times for a game-high 203 yards and rushed for three touchdowns to give him five on the year. After gaining 55 yards on 13 carries in the first half, Bogan amassed 148 on 13 in the second.
Including 224 yards on 21 attempts and two touchdowns – on runs of 48 and 45 yards – in Union’s season-opening 27-13 loss last week at Bridgewater-Raritan, Bogan has 427 yards and five TDs after two games.
Bogan is just shy of 5,000 career yards rushing and will get his first crack at it in two weeks when Union hosts Phillipsburg. The Farmers have next week off.
Bogan is Union’s all-time leading rusher with 4,987 yards and all-time leading scorer with 66 touchdowns.
The Bogan Breakdown:
2013 so far, senior season, 427 yards and 5 TDs
2012, junior season, 1,200 yards and 17 TDs
2011, sophomore season, 2,260 yards and 27 TDs
2010, freshman season, 1,100 yards and 17 TDs
Total: 4,987 yards and 66 TDs, both school records.
Elizabeth junior running back Marquise Leak scored both Minutemen touchdowns in the third quarter after Union went ahead 33-0.
Leak had a fine game, scoring twice on five-yard runs. With 4:33 remaining, Leak paced Elizabeth with 110 yards on 17 carries and his two scores.
Leak also led Elizabeth with 150 yards on 15 carries, including a 56-yard touchdown run, in last week’s season-opening 21-14 loss at Westfield.
On the second play from scrimmage of Friday night’s Elizabeth-Union game at Cooke Memorial Field, Union senior linebacker Randal LaGuerre stripped the ball from Leak and then recovered the fumble to give the Farmers a first down at the Minutemen 29.
On third-and-26 from the Elizabeth 33, senior quarterback Diego Rios threw a screen pass to Bogan on the left side. Bogan caught the ball at the 35 and then raced to the seven to give the Farmers a first-and-goal.
Bogan scored from the two-yard line two plays later to give Union the lead for good at 6-0. Senior placekicker Lucas Dagnone followed with the first of his three successful extra point kicks.
On the first play of Elizabeth’s second possession, junior quarterback Tyree Guiterrez was intercepted on the left side of the field by Union standout senior defensive back Agbai Iroha.
Union reached the end zone again eight plays later, but it wasn’t easy. On the final three plays of the 42-yard march, the Farmers fumbled the ball, but didn’t lose it.
Senior running back Jabree Robertson had a 16-yard run for one first down and then Union drew Elizabeth off sides on a fourth-and-three situation from the Minutemen 12 to give Union first-and-goal at the seven.
On first down, Bogan fumbled the ball away, but was able to run right into it, recovering the loose ball and actually gaining five yards to the two.
On second down, Bogan fumbled the ball all by himself, with teammate Lance Lee recovering at the four for a two-yard loss.
On third down, Rios dropped the snap. However, the first-year quarterback was able to pick the ball up and then gain some steam by running left. Refusing to be tackled before reaching the end zone, Rios – with his outstretched arms – put the ball over the goal line for an outstanding six-point effort that gave Union a 13-0 advantage.
After stopping Elizabeth at its own 18 during a 14-play drive that began at the Minutemen 26, Union took its third possession and marched 82 yards in six plays to reach the end zone again.
Iroha, in his only carry of the first half, gained 29 yards after racing through a hole up the middle and then shedding tacklers. Bogan followed with a 22-yard run that also included a 15-yard Elizabeth personal foul.
Two plays later, Robertson scored his first touchdown of the season on a seven-yard run up the middle to increase Union’s lead to 19-0.
The only downside for the Farmers up until that point was bad point-after snaps following their second and third touchdowns.
Bogan scored on runs for 47 and 44 yards on Union’s first two second half possessions.
NOTES: Elizabeth will next face 2-0 Delaware Division c0-leader (with Phillipsburg) Hunterdon Central in its home-opener at Williams Field next Friday night. HC won at Franklin 42-7 last week and on Friday night blanked Bridgewater-Raritan 24-0 in its home-opener.
Elizabeth plays nine weeks in a row because it does not play on Thanksgiving.
MID-STATE 38 CONFERENCE-DELAWARE DIVISION GAME
ELIZABETH (0-2, 0-2) 0 0 14 0 – 14
UNION (1-1, 1-1) 13 6 14 0 – 33
UNION – Jamauri Bogan 2 run, Lucas Dagnone kick (U 7-0)
10 plays, 29 yards, 4:55 used
Union capitalized on a turnover – a strip and fumble recovery by Randall LaGuerre.
UNION – Diego Rios 4 run, kick failed-bad snap (U 13-0)
8 plays, 42 yards, 5:00 used
Union capitalized on a turnover – an interception by Agbai Iroha
UNION – Jabree Robertson 7 run, kick failed-bad snap (U 19-0)
6 plays, 82 yards, 3:53 used
UNION – Jamauri Bogan 47 run, Lucas Dagnone kick (U 26-0)
2 plays, 63 yards, :45 used
UNION – Jamauri Bogan 44 run, Lucas Dagnone kick (U 33-0)
3 plays, 45 yards, :51 used
ELIZABETH – Marquise Leak 5 run, Michael Costa kick (U 33-7)
5 plays, 57 yards, 2:21 used
ELIZABETH – Marquise Leak 5 run, Michael Costa kick (U 33-14)
6 plays, 64 yards, 2:22 used
FRIDAY NIGHT’S UNION COUNTY SCOREBOARD:
Union 33, Elizabeth 14 – at Union
Brearley 33, Bernards 13 – at Brearley
Cranford 20, Somerville 14 – at Cranford
Dayton 55, Bound Brook 28 – at Dayton
New Providence 34, Belvidere 7 – at Belvidere
Voorhees 31, Gov. Livingston 14 – at Voorhees
Roselle Park 61, Manville 13 – at Roselle Park
Summit 48, Johnson 23 – at Johnson
North Plainfield 19, Roselle 0 – at North Plainfield
SATURDAY’S UNION COUNTY SCHEDULE:
Plainfield at Linden, 1 p.m.
Hillside at Scotch Plains, 1 p.m.
Delaware Valley at Rahway, 1 p.m.
Hillsborough at Westfield, 2 p.m.