Delone Catholic knew it was going to have its hands full when it took on Union City (Tennessee) on Friday night.
The Golden Tornadoes (5-0) entered the night on a 31-game winning streak and the two-time reigning Class A state champion in Tennessee. Still, even the 56-0 Union City win was probably more lopsided than the Squires (1-2) would've liked.
But, in a game that was essentially meaningless, other than in the win-loss column, it was an experience that could only help Delone as it now prepares for York-Adams Division III play.
"These guys want to win," Squires head coach Corey Zortman said following the loss. "They have a burning desire to be good and our guys didn't shy away at all tonight."
Sure, there were some ugly plays in the loss, but that's happened to the other 31 teams that have tried taking down the Golden Tornadoes and their triple-option offense during this now 32-game winning streak. There was the 85-yard touchdown run by Lazzarus Scribner in the first quarter; the 30-yard and 36-yard touchdown passes by Union City in the second quarter, only the third and fourth times all season it's thrown the ball in 2015; and lastly, there was the blocked 28-yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter that was returned 80 yards for the Golden Tornadoes' seventh score of the night that pushed their lead to 49-0.
But, when Zortman and the rest of Delone go back and look at the tapes, it won't focus on those negatives. Sure, they can be viewed as teaching moments, but it was the few positive moments that Zortman said he'll like to focus on.
"We said all week, we knew we were going to have our hands full," he said. "You know, 31 other teams fell to the same fate we did, so we have nothing to be ashamed of. But, we wanted to make them work for everything they got."
To start, there was the big goalline stand that the Squires' defensive line made early in the second quarter to keep Union City out of the endzone and the score at 7-0. The Golden Tornadoes had two chances to punch the ball in from six yards out, but failed, the first time in 17 redzone opportunities this year they failed to score a touchdown when inside the opponents' 20. That's certainly something that Delone took pride in after the game.
There were also the couple times that the Squires forced Union City into passing situations. Obviously the results weren't what they were hoping for, but just the fact that their defense could stop the Golden Tornadoes' run enough and force them into rare passing situations was a testament to Delone's work ethic.
"Tonight, I think that was kind of (Zortman's) thing was 'Hey, even if we don't do anything else, let's make them throw the ball because that means we're stopping their run a little bit,'" Union City coach Darren Bowling said about the Squires' defense. "And they did. They came up there and came in prepared well and forced us to throw it a bit."
And then there was the fourth-quarter compete that Delone showed. It never found the endzone, or the scoreboard for that matter, but the fourth quarter was easily its best offensive quarter in terms of moving the ball. After three quarters, the Squires had about 10 yards of total offense. In the fourth quarter alone, they had over 100 yards, enough to put them over the century mark for the night.
Tavian Dorsey ran extremely hard in the final quarter, carrying the ball six times for 74 of his 98 total rushing yards in the game.
It was that willingness to compete until the final horn that will carry Delone the furthest this year, especially when it takes on teams more even with it in talent and ability.
"I think it'll help us with the the team's that we'll face in our league," senior running back and defensive back Tavian Dorsey said. "They're good, but they're nowhere near as good as how Union City is and I really think it's going to benefit us in the long run."
Union City (Tenn.) 7 21 14 14 - 56
Delone Catholic 0 0 0 0 - 0
UC, Scribner 85-yard run (Vasquez kick), 8:32
UC, Clendenin 25-yard run (Vasquez kick), 7:33
UC, Stephens 30-yard catch from Scribner (Vasquez kick), 5:27
UC, Bumpus 36-yard catch from Scribner (Vasquez kick), :23 left
UC, Scribner 54-yard run (Vasquez kick) 8:22
UC, Harris 1-yard run (Vasquez kick) :38 seconds
UC, Hall 28-yard field goal blocked by Stephens, returned 80 yards by Reid (Vasquez kick), 9:24
UC, Waddell 6-yard run (Vasquez kick), :23 seconds
Category UC DC
Rushes/Yard 52-439 21-84
Passing 2-2-0 3-10-0
Passing Yards 66 27
Total Yard 505 111
First Downs 20 4
Penalties/Yards 8-55 1-10
Fumbles/Lost 2-0 1-1
Punts/Average 0-0 6-28.3
RUSHING: UC - Brantley Clendenin 24-153, Lazzarus Scribner 6-160, Braxton Waddell 6-43, Will Harris 4-15, Trey Jones 4-15, D'Carrious Stephens 2-9, Taj Reid 2-14, Tashawn Allen 2-27, Andrew Easley 1-3, ariq Nolan 1-0. DC - Tavian Dorsey 9-98, Sean Sneeringer 4-5, Zach Hart 2-7, Brian Shermeyer 5-(-)29.
PASSING: UC - Scribner, 2-2-66, 2. DC - Shermeyer, 3-10-27, 0.
RECEIVING: UC - Stephens 1-30, Jeremy Bumpus 1-36. DC, Brandon Zumbrum 1-25, Alec Maitland 1-1, Dorsey 1-1.
Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker.