United remains undefeated
MONMOUTH -- Aaron McDonald’s perfect timing helped the United High School football team remain perfect Friday night.
The senior batted away a pass on a potential game-tying two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter to help seal the Red Storm’s 14-12 victory over AlWood-ROWVA amid a stinging drizzle and bitter west wind.
Tyler Waugh’s five-yard keeper with 4:34 left put the Bulldogs (3-3, 0-3 West Prairie Trail-Northwest) in position to tie the game, but his rollout throw to Kyle Leathers in the corner of the end zone hung a bit too much, allowing McDonald to swat the ball away.
“They’ve burned us on (that play) the past two years on extra-point situations,” McDonald said. “I came up because (Waugh) rolled out, and then I saw the receiver run by me, so I turned around and jumped and tipped it.
“If I would’ve been a step slower, he would’ve caught it. Perfect timing.”
The Red Storm (6-0, 4-0), ranked fifth in Class 1A, assured themselves of a playoff spot but had to survive yet another nail-biter to do it. United’s last four wins have come by a combined 20 points.
“A win’s a win,” McDonald said. “We’re 6-0 and it’s a great feeling. We can’t stop playing because 7-0, 8-0, 9-0 sounds good to all of us.”
With a stiff breeze blowing across the field, the teams slugged it out on the ground for much of the game, combining for 468 yards rushing on 95 attempts.
“We weren’t afraid of just lining up and seeing what we could do out of our tight set, and we did pretty well against them,” said A&R coach Taul Noard, whose team ran for 243 yards on 37 carries.
United’s Adam Olin ran 32 times for a game-high 145 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown late in the third to put the Red Storm up 14-6.
Asked what he saw on his score off right tackle, Olin said, “Nobody.”
The relentless wind took its toll on the Bulldogs’ quick-strike passing game, as Waugh was just three-for-10 for 19 yards in the first three-plus quarters. He finished the game seven-for-22 for 96 yards and an interception.
Noard told reporters after the game he thought there was another factor, as well.
“I think we got some drives taken away from us,” he said. “You guys can print what you want, but there were phantom flags out here and that crap happens every time we come out to this place.”
A&R was flagged eight times for 50 yards, including a false start while lined up for the two-point conversion attempt in the fourth. United was penalized twice for a total of 15 yards.
McDonald opened the scoring with a one-yard plunge in the second that capped a 22-play, 69-yard drive that lasted 11:46.