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Big plays lift Union past Leechburg

| Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, 12:16 a.m.

Lightning strikes delayed kickoff, and big-play strikes plagued Leechburg after action started.

The game was delayed about 30 minutes because of lightning, then Union raced to a 35-0 win over Leechburg in a nonconference game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Union produced eight plays of 15 yards or more, with four going for touchdowns.

“We live and die by the big play,” Union coach Stacy Robinson said. “We hope we can continue that through the year, but we have to get better and be able to be more methodical in our approach.”

Leechburg junior running back Kris Smith finished the game with 79 rushing yards on 14 carries and one catch for 7 yards.

Union running back Drew Robinson put the first points on the board with a 72-yard run on the third play of the game.

Following a Leechburg fumble, Union quarterback Joe Salmen hit receiver Clifford Clark for a 37-yard score and a 13-0 lead. Salmen's point-after attempt missed.

Salmen later connected with Robinson for a 41-yard score before running one in from 11 yards out. Union led, 27-0, at halftime.

“Once they got a couple of big plays, they started taking it to us,” Leechburg coach Mark George said. “We just didn't come back and take it back and them.”

Robinson rushed nine times for 111 yards and one score and caught one pass for 41 yards and touchdown.

“He's the main guy I expect to do it,” Robinson said. “Drew can do it. When Drew gets it done, that just opens it up for everybody else.”

Robinson added another score on defense, returning a fumble 74 yards for a second-half touchdown.

Salmen completed 5 of 13 passes for 131 yards.

“He has the ability to make the big play,” Robinson said of Salmen. “He can scramble and make something good happen.”

Leechburg's big plays weren't its their way, but its ability to move the ball downfield was not lacking.

“We have a drive, we have to punch it in,” George said. “We did last week; we didn't this week. We just have to get better at that.”

Leechburg had three drives end with an interception and two with fumbles.

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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