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In the first three weeks of this year’s football season, like years prior, has featured a lot of non conference games that present new challenges and matchups that today’s generation may have yet to see. This was exactly the case on Friday night in Atwater, Ohio, as The Waterloo Vikings welcomed in The United Golden Eagles for a matchup that has not occurred in over twenty years! Also debuting new bleachers and pressbox, along with a renovated concession stand and bathrooms. It is safe to say, Waterloo Stadium is decked out for the foreseeable future. 

In a matchup where anything can happen, since the two teams do not have an ideal book on their opponent, we saw both The Eagles and Vikings jockey for position to start the game. 

A three and out by both teams on their first offensive drive set a defensive tone early. United got on the board first, as Nick Hardgrove was found in the endzone by Luke Courtney for a touchdown pass to put The Eagles up 7-0.  It was a play so nice they did it twice, as Coutney connected with Hardgrove on a 32 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, putting United up a pair of scores 14-0. 

Hardgrove was also present on the defensive side recovering a fumble for a turnover that directly led to a final score before the half, as Courtney found Grant Knight for a phenomenal 53 yard touchdown pass to end the half up 21-0. The second half was made up of a ton of defensive plays, highlighted by United playing the clock really well, while maintaining their advantage. Caden Marshall (United) and Jayden Hakin (Waterloo) each punched a touchdown in on the ground in the second half; however, time was not on The Vikings side, as United put the finishing touches on a 28-7 opening week victory. 

United will look to continue rolling into next week against the only team to beat them in the regular season in 2021, in a rematch with East Canton.

Waterloo will look to get back on track as they lock horns with Strasburg Franklin, a team which they beat a year ago 34-18.

*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell

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