Kenyon Clay, Jaylon Buckley lead Union past Philadelphia, 40-21 (photos)

PHILADELPHIA — Union quarterback Kenyon Clay scored three touchdowns and passed for another as the Yellowjackets defeated Philadelphia 40-21 Friday night in prep football action.

With the victory, Union earned a first-round home game in the Class 2A playoffs next Friday. They improved to 7-1 under first-year head coach Jordan Wren.

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Scott Central will be the No. 1 team out of Region 6-2A, followed by Union, Philadelphia and Newton High School. Philadelphia finished the regular season with a 3-4 record and will be on the road next week as the No. 3 team out of the region.

“We told our guys all week long that we needed to treat this game like a playoff game,” Coach Wren said. “This game meant a lot for us and our playoff standings. Our guys responded very well this year.

“I was really proud of the way our offensive line played. And Jaylon Buckley had a great night, He finished with 70 yards on 19 carries. He really did a lot of ground work that we needed to run the clock out,” Wren said.

The Yellowjackets got started early as Clay returned the opening kickoff 80-plus yards to the Philadelphia eight-yard line. Three plays later, Clay scored on a five-yard run. Henry Thornton kicked the extra point and the Yellowjackets led 7-0.

Philadelphia took the kickoff and had to punt on fourth down. Buckley picked up 33 yards on first down to put his team on the Tornado four-yard line. Two plays later, Clay scored on a three-yard run. Thornton’s kick was good and the Yellowjackets led 14-0.

Later in the period, Clay connected with Caleb Casey on a 33-yard TD pass play. The kick was good and the Yellowjackets led 21-0 with 3:34 left in the first.

The Tornadoes got on the scoreboard later in the second quarter when Marcus Beamon connected with Trey Posey on a 78-yard TD pass play. Connor Long kicked the extra point and Union led 21-7.

Later in the second quarter, Clay scored on a 21-yard TD run. The kick was no good and the Yellowjackets led 27-7 at the half.

The third quarter went back and forth. Philadelphia cut it to a two-score game when Beamon connected with Janaylon Dupre on an 86-yard TD pass play. Long’s kick was good and the Yellowjackets led 27-14 with just seconds left in the third quarter.

Union put together a scoring drive in the fourth quarter that ate up a lot of clock. Buckley scored on a two-yard run, capping a nine-play, 65-yard drive. The kick was good and the Yellowjackets led 34-14.

The Tornadoes took the ensuing kickoff on the Union 36. Six plays later, Beamon connected with Andrew Carter on an 11-yard TD pass play. Long’s kick was good and the Yellowjackets led 34-21 with less than five minutes left to play.

The Yellowjackets took the kickoff and put the game away four plays later when Buckley scored on a 36-yard run. The try for two was no good with 1:21 remaining on the clock.

— Steve Swogetinsky

(Photo gallery by Jason Dyess)

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