The future looks bright for Union football

PHOTOS BY JR PARACHINI – Among Union’s promising players back for 2019 is junior quarterback Andrew Sanborn.

UNION CITY – Although the Farmers will not advance to their first state championship game in five years, there is plenty for Union football to be proud about.
Much was accomplished in 2018, with a lot more success on the horizon.
First came the late comeback in the season-opener vs. visiting Linden, with Union tying the game with 49 seconds left and then winning it in single overtime.
After a two-touchdown setback at home to Elizabeth, Union reeled off six straight wins – four of them on the road, including big-time triumphs at undefeated Phillipsburg and at one-loss South Brunswick.
Union is the only team that has defeated Phillipsburg, which went on to gain the top seed again in North 2, Group 4.
Union finished 8-3 and won eight games for the first time in five years.
The Farmers went 4-1 in the Mid-State Conference’s Watchung Division, gaining a share of the division title with Elizabeth and Linden. Union beat Linden, Elizabeth defeated Union and then Linden beat Elizabeth for all three to share.
After its six-game winning streak was snapped at home by Bridgewater-Raritan, Union bounced back in the second half to top first-round playoff foe Elizabeth 28-17 behind a three-touchdown effort from senior running back Michel Lucien.
Lucien and the rest of the senior class will be missed.
Leading those who will return for another shot at North 2, Group 5 in 2019 is junior quarterback Andrew Sanborn.
In the middle of the season at home Union scored three touchdowns in the first half and went on to beat Westfield 21-7, notching its first win over the Blue Devils in five years and at home in six.
Union has now reached the North 2, Group 5 semifinals three of the pasts four seasons and four times in six years in present head coach Lou Grasso, Jr.’s tenure.
One of these years – perhaps next season – it’s going to work out for Union and then all the playoff defeats before will be forgotten for a time.
The Farmers made great strides in 2018. The future looks bright.