Union Farmers look forward to fall football schedule

UNION, NJ — More eager than ever to get back on the field after seeing their 2021 campaign come to an early close because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Union Farmers will open the 2022 season at home on Friday, Sept. 2, vs. Bridgewater–Raritan Regional High School.

Union High School has eight regular-season games scheduled — four home and four away.

This is the first year that overall group champions will be crowned at season’s end, so, for the first time, sectional state champions will need to win two more games to be declared overall group state champions.

Union’s first road game is at Westfield High School on Saturday, Sept. 10. Westfield and Eizabeth High School are the only two Union County opponents on Union’s schedule.

Union plays four schools from Somerset County: Bridgewater–Raritan, Somerville, Hillsborough and Ridge high schools; one from Middlesex County, St. Joseph’s High School, Metuchen; and one from Warren County, Phillipsburg High School.

Union doesn’t face Linden, Plainfield or Scotch Plains–Fanwood anymore.

Union’s last regular-season game is at home against Ridge on Friday, Oct. 21.

Seven of Union’s eight games are Friday-night affairs.

The state playoffs are to commence the first week in November, as has been the case the last several years.

Union has produced winning seasons the last four years. Last year, the Farmers reeled off nine straight wins after falling to Millville Senior High School, 31-28, in a late-August game played at Ocean City High School’s field.

The ninth straight win was a more-than-convincing 41-3 home triumph against Livingston High School in the first round of the North 2, Group 5 playoffs. Then Union was shut down for the season because of COVID-19. The Farmers had to forfeit the sectional semifinal home game against Eastside High School, Paterson, thus finishing 9-2.

Union went 8-3 and reached the North 2, Group 5 semifinals in 2018. Then, in 2019, the Farmers won their first state championship in 26 years by beating Clifton High School, 42-28, at home to win North 2, Group 5 for the first time. Union completed a perfect 12-0 campaign with its first state title since 1993. The Farmers then lost to Ridgewood High School, 41-37, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in the North 2 vs. North 1 champions’ Group 5 regional championship game.

Juniors who excelled for the Farmers last year included Omar Ibrahim, Agbai Ifegwu and placekicker Ramsey Lafond.

Ibrahim caught seven passes for 106 yards and produced 42 total tackles — 20 solo and 22 assists. Ifegwu had 11 solo tackles and three assists for a total of 14.

Lafond was almost automatic for the Farmers following touchdowns. Last year, he made 37 of 42 extra-point kicks.

In the Big Central Conference’s Division 5A last year, Union won the championship outright, beating Elizabeth, Westfield, Plainfield and Watchung Hills Regional high schools to finish with a perfect 4-0.

Union Farmers football 2022 schedule:
• Friday, Sept. 2, vs. Bridgewater–Raritan, 7 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 10, at Westfield, 1 p.m.
• Friday, Sept. 16, vs. St. Joseph’s Metuchen, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Sept. 23, at Somerville, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Sept. 30, at Hillsborough, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Oct. 7, vs. Elizabeth, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Oct. 14, at Phillipsburg, 7 p.m.
• Friday, Oct. 21, vs. Ridge, 7 p.m.