Union Grove High School

Going great lengths for a big win

The Broncos’ Cody Cotton races toward the end zone on a 65-yard touchdown run in an Aug. 20 game against Racine Lutheran. Cotton amassed 220 yards on 12 carries. He followed up that performance with 232 yards on 20 carries in a victory of Williamsville (Illinois) High School on Aug. 27. (Photo by Michael Stefanich Jr.)

Broncos make most of impromptu matchup of ranked teams

Union Grove High School literally went to extreme lengths to find a football opponent on Aug. 27.

The Broncos, initially scheduled to host Racine Park on Aug. 27, had to seek a new team to play after Park canceled the contest because of reported COVID-19 concerns on the Panthers roster.

Union Grove, in response, discovered a team nearly four hours away that showed a willingness to play the Broncos.

Williamsville High School, about 30 minutes north of Springfield, Illinois, and Union Grove decided to meet midway for an interstate contest at Howard Fellows Field in Peru, Illinois.

The matchup, which happened southwest of Chicago, featured two prominently ranked opponents.

The State-Journal Register in Illinois reported the Bullets, who finished 20-0 in the previous two seasons, finished ranked No. 1 in the Class 3A Associated Press poll last spring.

Union Grove, meanwhile, entered the meeting with its own recognition as the sixth-ranked squad in the Division 3 WissSports.net Coaches Poll.


Cotton paves the way

But the Broncos certainly showed why they deserved their ranking after defeating the Bullets on a 41-18 decision behind the potent running of senior Cody Cotton.

Cotton finished with 232 yards rushing on 20 carries.

The Broncos built a 20-0 first quarter advantage, thanks to Cotton, who scored on runs of 72, 9 and 12 before Williamsville responded midway through the second frame.

Williamsville quarterback Jake Seman, who went 31-for-53 in pass attempts for 347 yards, posted the Bullets first score on a 6-yard touchdown run to cut its deficit to 20-6.

Union Grove, however, answered with an 89-yard interception return from Adam Ross with 13 seconds left in the second half.

Seconds later, Cotton, again, scored.

This time, Cotton raced for a 35-yard touchdown with four second left, which sent Union Grove into the second half carrying a 34-6 advantage.

Union Grove posted its final touchdown at 10:30 in the third quarter, when quarterback Nathan Williams completed a 42-yard strike to Owen Skewes.

Seman, a junior, trimmed the Grove lead on passing touchdowns of 69 and 16 yards, but the late rally was not enough for the Bullets to overcome the deficit.

The Broncos jumped to 2-0 after the interstate win and will host Westosha Central Friday in a battle of unbeaten teams.

            For full coverage of other Union Grove High School sports see the Sept. 3 edition of the Westine Report.

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