Red Devils fall to No. 1 Union County

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By Steve Jarboe

On Friday night Oct. 28, the Williston Red Devils traveled to the No. 1 State ranked Union County Tigers at Lake Butler.
The Red Devils showed up strong in the first quarter after the Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove in the end zone from 24 yards out. The Tigers jumped to a 7-0 lead and made it look like it would be a long night for Red Devil fans.
The Red Devil defense held the Tigers to a fourth down and five at their 15- yard line forcing a field goal try by the Tigers. The 28- yard kick went wide right as the score remained 7-0.
The Red Devils took over with just over two minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Quarterback David Heinkel, playing with a heavily taped ankle, hit Damien Strange over the middle with a quick pass. Strange, who was double covered, plucked the ball out of the air, and raced 70 yards to the end zone. The Jorge Deciderio PAT tied the score at 7-7.                   
The Tigers took the ensuing kickoff and with just under one minute left in the first quarter, scored on a long run on the first play from scrimmage, only to have the play called back for a block in the back penalty.
On the opening play of the second quarter the Tigers scored again from 48 yards out. The PAT put the Tigers up 14-7.
After the Red Devils went 3 and punt, the Tigers scored again on a 44-yard touchdown run. The PAT lifted the Tigers to a 21-7 lead.
The Red Devils took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the Tigers 10- yard line as the first half was winding down. Held to a fourth and goal came one of two calls that turned the game around.
Heinkel hit Strange who had a defender all over him just inside the end zone line. Both players went up in the air and the ball was caught by both players, Strange took the ball away and was pushed out to the 10-inch line. Strange had the ball in the air in the end zone but was pushed out    side the line when the players went to the ground. The ball was spotted at the 10-inch line by the official. No touchdown, and the Tigers took over.
On the first play from scrimmage, the Tigers jumped across the line and flags flew. A false start penalty was called on the Tigers, and a half the distance penalty put the football on the 5-inch line. On the next snap the Red Devil defense stopped the forward progress of the Tigers fullback two feet in the end zone but the ball was spotted back out at the 5-inch line. No safety.
The clock ran out ending the first half, leaving the score at 21-7 in favor of the Union County Tigers.
Following a Red Devil fumble on their first possession of the third quarter, the Tigers drove the ball down the field and scored again, expanding on their lead. The Tigers were now leading 28-7.
On the Red Devils second possession of the third quarter the Tigers intercepted a pass. The Tigers ran to the Red Devil 4-yard line where the Tigers fumbled the football and the Red Devils recovered.  After three plays went nowhere, the Red Devils were forced to punt from their end zone. The Tigers returned the punt to the Red Devil 24-yard line.
Driving for another touchdown the Tigers went to the air and Red Devil Michael Hall picked off the pass and returned it out to the 42-yard line as the third quarter ended.
Just two plays later the Red Devils fumbled the ball and the Tigers recovered. With just over eight minutes remaining in the game the Tigers kicked a 38-yard field goal for a 31-7 lead.
The Red Devils fumbled the ball on their next possession and the Tigers went to the end zone three plays later. Now leading 38-7 the Tigers appeared to be in control of the game.
Brandon Preston took the Tiger kickoff and broke several tackles and turned on the speed for an 81-yard touchdown. The center snap scooted on the ground and the holder tried to run the ball in for the two-point  try, but was stopped short of the end zone. The score was now 38-13.
The Red Devils recovered the perfectly kicked football on the on-side kick try.  But, two plays later the Red Devils fumbled the ball for the sixth time. The Tigers moved the ball in to the end zone with just over four minutes remaining in the game. The Tigers were now holding a 45-13 lead.
Heinkel again found Strange for a 10-yard touchdown pass following another good drive by the Red Devils. The two-point try was no good and the score was now 45-19 with under one minute to play.
The Red Devils again got the football on a Tiger turn over and Deciderio banged through a field goal for the final score. Union County 45 Williston 22.
The Red Devils end their five game road schedule in the past six weeks when they play host to Cross City rival Dixie County Friday, Nov. 4, at Booster Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m. This will be the homecoming game for the Red Devils.