C. Catholic 7 13 12 6 — 38
East Union 14 7 0 6 — 27
E — David Flores 1 run (Cooper Rossi kick), 7:53
C — Tyler Wentworth 7 run (Anthony Wildeberg kick), 4:38
E — Jacob Toste 5 pass from Luke Weaver (Rossi kick), 1:22
C — Aiden Taylor 1 run (Wildeberg kick), 7:26
C — Jackson Payne 42 pass from Wentworth (kick failed), 5:30
E — Dylan Lee 15 pass from Weaver (Rossi kick), 1:10
C —Julian Lopez 2 run (run failed), 10:01
C — Taylor 35 run (run failed), 1:06
C — Lopez 3 run (kick failed), 8:03
E — Kainoa Ontai 22 pass from Weaver (run failed), 5:07
East Union High stood toe-to-toe with Valley Oak League power Central Catholic Friday at Cunial Field.
But it was the Raiders' power running game prevailing over the passing attack of the Lancers in a game that featured contrasting offenses.
"They're big and they're strong," said EU coach Mike Kuhnlenz of Central Catholic following the tough 38-27 loss.
The Raiders (5-0 VOL, 8-1 overall) racked up 390 yards on 38 carries. Aiden Taylor, running behind his massive front line, did most of the damage with his game-high 295 yards on 21 attempts with a pair of touchdowns.
"No. 4 was also tough," added Kuhnlenz, referencing running back Julien Lopez, who chipped in with 73 yards on 13 carries while scoring a pair of second-half TDs.
The Lancers (2-3, 5-4) were led by the one-two punch of quarterback Luke Weaver and his favorite target Dylan Lee, who had 13 catches for 132 yards and a score.
But it was Weaver who quickly got the offense on track by hitting Kainoa Ontai on a 49-yard bomb to the Central 1 early in the contest. Two plays later, David Flores capped the 10-play, 80-yard drive to open up the scoring.
The Raiders responded by turning loose Taylor on their first drive. He reeled off a big run, setting up quarterback Tyler Wentworth's 7-yard run to tie the game, 7-7.
Weaver, who completed 22 of his 34 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns, marched his team down the field on its next series. He hit Jacob Toste twice on that drive, including a 35-yard completion and a 5-yard scoring strike.
Down 14-7, Central Catholic put together a time-consuming six-minute-plus drive. Taylor tied the game at 14-14 with his one-yard plunge.
East Union experienced its first rough patch of the game on the subsequent drive. Penalties plus a sack put the Raiders in position to forge ahead. They didn't disappoint as Wentworth went to the air on the first play, connecting on a 42-yard score to Jackson Payne. Central missed the extra point kick.
Down 20-14, Lee took control of the drive shortly before the half. He had a 17-yard pass highlighted by make a juke move for extra yards. He then caught a timely pass from Weaver despite being heavily covered, coming down with the ball on the 15-yard TD. Cooper Rossi's PAT kick gave EU the slight lead at the intermission, 21-20.
Central Catholic took control of the game through most of the second half by running Lopez and Taylor with great success.
The Raiders scored twice to forge ahead, 38-21.
EU continued to fight. Weaver marched his team on the ensuing possession, capitalizing on penalties while finding Ontai, who hauled in the pass and darted into the end zone on the 22-yard pass play.
Central Catholic ran out the clock to preserve the win.
"It doesn't get any easier from here," said Kuhnlenz.
His team will host another VOL power in Kimball (4-1, 8-1) next week.