Union High School’s head coach Doug Burley is entering this season with some good vibes. He feels that this year’s team has the potential to be better than last, simply because they will have a tad more experience.
With that being said, the Spartans will still only have ten seniors. Union will have more overall upperclassmen this year, as they will have 17 juniors. The team will also have 16 sophomores, and 23 freshmen.
They are looking to improve on last year’s 3-9 mark.
Fortunately the Spartans will return some key players at play-making positions. They will return all-purpose back, Nadir Goodwin, running back Shyquan Brunson, another back in Chris Nash, who had a breakout season last year, and Montrel Williams as a key player on the defensive end.
“I’m telling you, the guys have really been more open to suggestion this season, so far in practice,” said Burley. “They have been more receptive, and listened better than a lot of these guys have in the past, so it is good to see. They have been coming out here each and every day, wanting to get better.”
Burley plans to keep things the same this year as far offensive and defensive formations go. They will stay in the double wing and wishbone for the majority of the time while on offense, and run the 3-5 on defense.
Union’s biggest weakness right now seems to be inexperience. However, Burley is concerned about their line play.
“We need some linemen to step up for us on both sides of the ball,” he said. “A lot of our success or a lot of our problems will begin right there. It is a spot that we have struggled with in the past couple of seasons, and this preseason. We are hoping we will have some guys step up though.”
Burley admitted that a successful season would mean his team had won 6-7 ball games.
“I think that would be a really good season,” he said. “We are in such a tough conference. East Bladen, Wallace, and Clinton are all really good, and they are all gonna be tough to beat. It’ll be tough going to Lakewood for the first game of the year too.”
Union is set to open its season at Lakewood on Aug. 21. Before then, they will have a scrimmage game against White Oak on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and participate in the Pigskin Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 14.