Union County continued its Cinderella story on Friday night in Columbia with a 41-38 win over A.C. Flora. The Jackets entered the playoffs as a No. 3 seed and have marched through three straight road games to get to the Upper State Championship where they will face Daniel at their place this Friday night.
Quarterback Keiston Smith completed 16-of-23 for 380 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 120 yards on 15 carries and three scores.
Smith’s first passing touchdown came just three minutes into the first quarter when he connected with Victor Ruth on a 75-yard pass.
Late in the second, Kalay Jones took a 42-yard pass to the one-yard line where Smith capped off the drive with a rushing touchdown and Union County County carried a 14-12 lead into intermission.
The Jackets forced a Falcons punt after three plays to open the third before Ruth reached the end zone with a 55-yard catch.
Flora responded with a touchdown of its own, but the extra point was no good and Union County’s T.J. Foster snagged a 39-yard touchdown pass for a 27-18 lead.
The Falcons closed the margin to three on the ensuing possession before a 51-yard pass to Chris Booker set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Smith.
Flora went to the air on third and long with a 32-yard touchdown pass and the successful PAT made it a 34-31 ballgame.
With a little over seven minutes remaining, facing third and 11, Smith earned 25 yards off a draw play for a fresh set of downs and followed up with a 13-yard touchdown run.
The Falcons scored with under a minute to go and attempted an onside kick.
However, it was not meant to be and Union County’s Dakota Ivester recovered at the 37-yard line where Smith took a knee to end the game.
Jamarcus Henderson led the defense with 14 tackles and two sacks.
Ruth had five receptions for 129 yards and Chris Booker reeled in six catches for 98 yards.