Knights face defending state champs to end postseason

Fall to top-ranked Bulldogs, 56-0

Senior members of the Union football team pictured alongside head coach Jared Pospisil, right, last Friday at Bulldog Stadium in Van Meter with their team’s state participation trophy. The Knights lost in the second-round of playoffs to the Van Meter Bulldogs, 56-0. PHOTO COURTESY OF JARED POSPISIL

VAN METER – The underdog Knights were taken down by some very big dogs last Friday.

After defying the odds and beating No. 1 seed Waukon in the first round of the Iowa high school football playoffs on Oct. 20, Union advanced to the Round of 16, traveling to Dallas County where they faced the undefeated, top-ranked Van Meter Bulldogs – the 2021 and 2022 2A state champions.

It was the first time the two schools had faced one another.

And while the weather was cold – the fifth coldest start historically for a Van Meter game – the powerhouse Bulldogs proved anything but, drubbing the Knights 56-0 in a brutal road game for Union.

Van Meter will next play PCM – the District 6 champions – in the state quarterfinals this Friday in Monroe.

“Van Meter did an excellent job running the ball, to say the least. Their running back is so explosive that if we made any error in alignment or path to the ball, he was able to exploit it,” Union head coach Jared Pospisil told the Telegraph by email on Monday.

“On the other side of the ball, their exterior defense made it difficult for us to get to the edge or to get much going in the pass[ing] game.”

Against the Knights, the Bulldogs resoundingly dominated all aspects of the game, breaking or setting multiple school records in the process, according to notes shared with the Telegraph by Van Meter football statistician Trey Armistead.

Van Meter scored 21 points in the first quarter; 14 in the second; another 14 in the third; and one final touchdown in the fourth for good measure.

In fact, the Bulldogs’ defense was so oppressive that Union did not manage a first down by rush or by pass until nearly halfway through the final quarter.

Union quarterback Andrew Sadler went a respectable 7-for-16 but was kept to just 12 yards by the suffocating defense – the fewest by Union in a game since 2010, according to Armistead.

As a team, the Knights rushed for a total of 75 yards with Sadler keeping the ball for 32 of those yards.

Senior Caleb Olson led the Knights’ defense with 4.5 tackles out of a team total of 29; Ryan Devries and Justice Luke each racked up four tackles apiece.

In the end, it was a valiant effort by the Knights who had not made it to the second round of playoffs for six years.

“I was proud of our team’s performance down the stretch of the season,” Coach Pospisil continued. “They had nothing to hang their heads about. Our senior class did an excellent job leading us, and we will miss them.”

Union football caps off the 2023-24 season with a 3-7 record – one more win than last season. It is Coach Pospisil’s hope that his program’s upward progress continues in 2024-25.

“We’re excited that we will be returning several players [next season] at both the skill and line positions. Those returners will mix well with a successful sophomore class coming up.”