Union's Robbie Abercrombie was all over the Rice Stadium field Friday afternoon. He rushed for 100 yards, caught a pass for 24 yards, scored two touchdowns and made several tackles from his defensive back position. But it was his throwing arm that may have been the difference in the Cougars' 40-22 victory over Wasatch in the 3A football championship.

Abercrombie threw two long passes from his halfback position - one for a touchdown and another that set up a touchdown - as Union captured its first state football title since 1965."Our kids played their hearts out. These are the best kids in America," said Union Coach Don Busenbark, whose team's last loss came to Wasatch in mid-September. "We knew we had to put a few wrinkles in to beat their defense today."

The best wrinkle was the halfback pass that looked like a double pass. Quarterback Scott Rasmussen threw an overhand pass to Abercrombie, but backward behind the line of scrimmage. Abercrombie faked the run, then stopped and fired a strike to Lane Earl. That play worked not once but twice.

The first was early in the second quarter with Wasatch leading 14-13. Earl was all alone behind the Wasp defense for a 38-yard touchdown.

Late in the third quarter, Union tried the same play and again Earl found himself all alone behind the defense. It also went for 38 yards, down to the 2-yard line. Three plays later Rasmussen scored to make it 25-14.

"We used this once last week and I thought they'd have it scouted out," said Abercrombie. "I was surprised he was so wide open."

Wasatch came back to pull within 25-22 on a 16-yard "fumblerooski" play with right guard Eric Vincent getting the score. A two-point pass from Casey Jarvis to Kam Brown made it 25-22.

The Wasps had a chance to take the lead after Travis Probst blocked a punt in Cougar territory with 7:41 left. However, Wasatch stalled at the 28 and on 4th and 2, the Cougars stopped Jarvis for no gain.

From there, the Cougars moved 71 yards in just five plays with Rusty Keel going the final 25 for the clinching TD. The Cougars added another score on a 12-yard run by Abercrombie after the Wasps ran out of downs.

"The single factor that hurt us was that we made too many crucial errors," said Wasatch coach Monte Morgan.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the first half when the Cougars took a 19-14 lead. The touchdowns all came within a four-and-a-half-minute span late in the first quarter and early in the second.

Union's Rasmussen started off the scoring with a 19-yard scamper around the left end with 4:13 left in the first quarter.

Wasatch came back to tie it on a 16-yard run by David Thacker. The TD was set up thanks to a blocked punt by Union, of all things. After the punt was blocked it came down in the hands of Jarvis, who after standing for a minute, pitched back to Chris Wren, who turned it into a 42-yard gain.

The Cougars went ahead 13-7 on a 2-yard run by Abercrombie, but the PAT kick hit the upright. On their next play, the Wasps went ahead as Adam Larsen broke through with a 70-yard run.

But on the first play of the second quarter, the Cougars scored on the 38-yarder from Abercrombie to Earl.

"We've been underdogs all year," said Abercrombie. "This is something we dreamed about for years."