EDMOND — Union junior running back AJ Green stood on the sidelines as the third and fourth quarter ticked away Friday night at Edmond North High School.
It hasn’t been quite a normal season for the Redskins, but they are back in a familiar place after a 50-7 victory in the season finale: Ready for the playoffs.
“It feels really, really good to be back where we need to be,” said Green, who missed the previous two weeks with an injury. “But we’ve got more work to do.”
After one of its worst starts in decades, No. 3 Union (6-4, 5-2) rolled off five straight wins to close out the regular season, averaging more than 45 points per game and allowing only 37 points during that five-game span. The starters rested in the second half Friday, paving way for a first-round matchup in the 6AI playoffs next Friday at Broken Arrow.
Green finished with seven carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Rovaughn Banks had eight carries for 72 yards and three total touchdowns. The two, along with senior running back Avante Wilkins, have been the catalysts of a youthful running game that is just now finding its form behind a meshing offensive line.
“I felt like we had a good team, if we had enough patience,” Union coach Kirk Fridrich said. “Our kids continued to work — just worked and got better. I felt like it would take us a while this year. I’m very proud of where we’re at.”
Union finished with 389 yards on the ground Friday, averaging more than 11 yards per carry, while holding Edmond North (1-9, 0-7) to just 63 yards on the ground.
Edmond North lost for the 20th time in the last 21 games following a winless season last year.
A 43-point first half was enough for the Union starters to watch the final 24 minutes from the sideline.
“We can handle adversity really well,” said senior receiver Kyler Pearson, who finished with three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown from Banks. “Starting off the season the way we did and turning it around, I feel like at any time at the point of the game, if we’re down, we can come back. We just have to put it together and listen to what our coaches are saying.”
After Edmond North scored its only touchdown of the game following a muffed punt, Union scored on its next four possessions, giving the Redskins five straight touchdowns to start the game — all before halftime.
“I knew it would be a year of patience,” Fridrich said. “It’s been a lot of fun the last few weeks. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”