BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Senior running back Armond Smith capped an amazing season as he added three more records to his resume in the 47-33 Union victory over visiting Faulkner (Ala.) on Saturday.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native ran for 243 yards and three touchdowns on a career-high 23 carries as he set the single-season records for most rushing yards (1,376), most rushing touchdowns (16) and most points scored (102). The243 rushing yards rank second-most in program history only to the 312 Smith reeled off earlier this season against Bethel (Tenn.) on Oct. 9.
Fellow seniors P.J. Burrowes (Middlesboro, Ky.) and Sean Mackey (Reddick, Fla.) also made their marks in the Bulldog record book. Burrowes became the sixth player in Union history to amass over 100 receptions. Needing only two to reach the mark, he hauled in three for 29 yards to finish with 101 catches for 1,581 yards. Meanwhile, Mackey had four catches to give him 40 on the season, making him the 16th Bulldog amass as many receptions in a season.
"I'm just really proud of our seniors," said Union coach Tommy Reid. "They have given so much to this program, and I'm glad to see them go out on a winning note."
Union finishes the season with a 7-4 overall record and 4-2 Mid-South Conference West mark for the team's second winning season in three years. Over the past three years, the Bulldogs have won 20 games to equal the most successful three-year span in program history. Union also won 20 games during the 1992-94 campaigns.
The Bulldogs also set the program record for most points scored in a season with 440 and for best point-per game average at 40.0. The previous marks were 369 total points in 2008 and 33.4 average in 1994. Union also set season records for total offense (5,206) and most rushing yards (2,904).
Union racked up 589 yards in total offense with 419 coming on the ground. After Smith, Rob Brown (Daytona, Fla.) piled 104 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries with Mike Brinkley (Anthony, Fla.) adding 49 yards and a score on eight attempts.
Brinkley also threw for 170 yards on 19-of-34 passing as he became the second player in program history to amass over 7,000 career passing yards. To date, the junior signal-caller has 7,078 passing yards to his credit.
Despite posting its fifth game with over 40 points, the Bulldogs got off to sluggish start thanks to three first-half turnovers. Because of those miscues, Union found itself down 14-10 at the half.
Add to the fact Faulkner scored on the opening possession of the second half, Union was in a 21-10 hole with 13:57 to go in the third.
On the ensuing possession, Union faced a fourth-and-two from the Faulkner 31 as Brinkley turned a quarterback sneak into a 31-yard touchdown run to pull the Bulldogs within 21-17 with 12:41 still on the clock. Union grabbed a 24-21 advantage when Smith scored on a 24-yard scamper at the 4:38 mark.
Like was the case for much of the game, Faulkner was quick with an answer with Brandon Cheatham's 2-yard plunge capping a nine-play, 51-yard drive. The PAT was blocked by senior Tim Grier (Powder Springs, Ga.) to keep it a 27-24 contest with 26 seconds left in the third.
The Eagle scoring drive was kept alive by three Bulldog penalties inside the Union 20.
In the fourth, Union flipped a switch and reeled off 23 points to seize control of the game. Chandler Priest (Loganville, Ga.) scored on an 8-yard run to give Union a 31-27 edge with 11:48 to go.
Faulkner appeared on its way to score on its next drive as it had the ball first-and goal at the Union 7. However, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs at 12. On the very next play, Smith broke loose for an 88-yard touchdown run. Senior Chris Bethel (Allensville, Ohio) added the 2-point conversion to make it 39-27 with 9:05 remaining.
Bethel, a senior linebacker, recorded eight tackles, including a sack and three for a loss of 19 yards.
With 1:24 left, Brown added a 17-yard touchdown run. Senior center Joe Mullinax (Canton, Ga.) lined up at full back on the 2-point conversion and plowed his way in for the score, making it 47-27.
Faulkner completed the scoring with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Deonta Allen with 5 seconds to play to make the final 47-33.
The Eagles piled up 400 yards in total offense with Zach Tribble completing 21-of-38 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Cheatham finished with 106 yards rushing on 20 carries with Triston McCathern added 78 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries.