September 28, 2001 11:00 pm

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

UNION In a battle for Wapiti League football supremacy, Imbler won the war Friday.

The Panthers, holding the upper hand in field position throughout the first half, capitalized on one trip out of four inside Unions 25-yard line to eke out a 7-0 win.

The victory put Imbler at 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Wapiti. Union fell to 3-2 and 1-1.

Tyson Hoskins scored when he darted through a hole created by the right side of his offensive line for a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

The kids stayed focused all week and we came out and played well in the first half. That was the difference, Imbler coach Lee Lowe said.

Imblers defense shut down Unions vaunted running attack holding the Bobcats to a meager 49 yards rushing 33 carries and no passing yards.

In the first half, we didnt run enough plays and they controlled the ball, Union coach Wayne Herron said.

Hoskins gained 76 of his game-high 106 yards in the opening half, but Union safety Lucas Maples picked off two Trevor Crow passes when Imbler got within Unions 25.

The first-half clock expired with Imbler on Unions 10 following a Panthers false start penalty, ending another Imbler threat.

Field position was so important and they had it, Herron said. In the first half, they had better field position.

Imbler started its first-half drives from its 27, 35, 42, 46 and Unions 31, while Union started at its 17, 29, 31 and 38.

A partially-blocked punt gave Imbler its best starting field position of the night at Unions 31early in the second quarter. Eight running plays later, Hoskins scored the deciding score

In the second half, neither team seriously threatened to score.

Union got to Imblers 37, but Maples deep pass on fourth-and-7 was intercepted by Brandon Campbell.

Another time, a Maples shotgun pass was nearly picked off in the end zone on a fourth-and-11 from the Imbler 17.

The Panthers farthest penetration into Union territory was on their final drive of the game as they made it to Unions 49.

Youve got to give credit to Unions defense. They tried a couple of different looks, but thats a tribute to Wayne and his coaching, Lowe said.

I thought we played a lot better defense in the second half, Herron said.

Steven Skillings had 65 yards rushing for Imbler, including 43 in the second half, and had the only two receptions in the game for 19 yards.

Unions offensive leader was Derek Kirby, who rushed for 30 yards.

Union hosts Pine-Eagle next Friday, while Union travels to Nyssa.

Imbler 0 7 0 0 7

Union 0 0 0 0 0

Imb Tyson Hoskins 5 run (Daniel Johnson kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING Imbler, Ty.Hoskins 33-106, Skillings 15-65, Crow 8-7, Tro.Hoskins 1-4. Union, Kirby 7-30, Dunbar 10-17, Prince 8-16, M.Maley 1-7, Maples 7-(minus 21).

PASSING Imbler, Crow 2-10-2-19, Ty.Hoskins 0-1-0-0, Tra.Hoskins 0-1-0-0. Union, Maples 0-7-2-0, McReynolds 0-2-0-0.

RECEIVING Imbler, Skillings 2-19. Union, none.