The Class 2A squad travels to Harmony next week while Overton (1-1) visits Rusk County rival Mount Enterprise in Class 1A action.
The game got off to an auspicious beginning, as Union Grove turned the ball over when junior linebacker Austin Cook nailed a Lion ballcarrier in the backfield, forcing him to cough up the football.
Fellow junior linebacker Greg Moore swooped in for the recovery and the Mustangs had excellent field position at the Union Grove 38-yard line.
But in what was the story of the entire night, Overton failed to make a dent in the Lion defense and had to turn the ball over.
Arthur “Bo” Talkington, OHS head coach/athletic director, credited the Lions for an impressive performance and said he was pleased with how his players rose to the occasion of a larger and more experienced squad.
“I thought they showed a lot of heart, and kept fighting until the end,” he said. “It can be frustrating when things don’t go your way but they kept their composure and kept working.”
While the highly-vaunted Union Grove rushing attack came into Friday night’s game averaging over 400 yards on the ground, they only managed 230 yards on 34 carries.
“I felt like we kept them from moving the ball at will,” Talkington said. “Unfortunately they had a few big plays that made the difference.”
Another factor was the Mustangs difficulty in sustaining drives, as senior Austin McCasland was called upon to punt seven times.
Overton’s junior signal caller K.J. Luster showed considerable cool under pressure, hitting on 5-of-8 passes for 73 yards while dodging multiple defenders and a heavy pass rush.
“They did a good job of keeping us from taking advantage of some pretty good field position,” Talkington said. “We’ve got to get more physical up front.”
“Tim played very well, really pleased with his effort,” Talkington said.
Hawkins gained 163 yards on 4 returns, including a dazzling 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half.
Talkington said the team is looking forward to next week’s contest against Mount Enterprise (2-0).
“I think we match up well with them,” he said. “It should be a good game.”