Union 34, Phillipsburg 24 - Mid-State 38 crossover football
A 1-yard touchdown run by Farmer quarterback Andrew Sanborn with 13 seconds in the game followed by a pick-6 on Phillipsburg’s final offensive play, gave the Farmers an come-from-behind win Friday night at Maloney Stadium.
The Stateliners (3-1) had taken the lead with 1:15 left on an 8-yard TD run by Joe Green but saw Union (3-1) drive 73 yards for the winning score, fueled mostly by a 53-yard screen pass to Michel Lucien.
“We just didn’t make a tackle on that screen pass,” Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy said. “But we’ll learn from this. No one wants to lose, but now we don’t have to worry about being perfect. All of our goals are still there. I am really proud of our effort tonight. Union is a good team and a little under the radar. They will make some noise in the state.”
One major loss for the Stateliners was senior cornerback/wide receiver/kick returner Nasir Ball due to an upper-body injury. Playing a team such as Union with its array of gifted skill position players proved very difficult without a top-shelf cover corner such as Ball.
Turning point: That screen pass, coming on 2nd and 25 from the Union 12 with less than a minute to play. Just a killer.
Top performer: Phillipsburg quarterback Jack Stagaard enjoyed a big night passing (170 yards, 1 TD) and his wild 38-yard scramble to convert and 4th and 10 from his own 35 on the drive where the Stateliners went ahead late was spectacular. If Phillipsburg had won the game that scramble would become legendary. It still might.
What it means: The Stateliners will not be unbeaten. They need to improve their pass rush and pass defense. But it was one exciting game to watch, and a loss against a high-caliber foe such as the Farmers may well help in the long run. "We needed that," Duffy said.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.