UNION COUNTY — The 2017 High School Football season is here! If you are like me you have been waiting for this moment for months, and now week zero is finally upon us. The Union County High School Yellow Jackets will start the season on Friday against the Chapman Panthers. These two teams started the season with each other last year with the Jackets winning that contest.
Chapman is coming over a very successful 2016 campaign that saw them defeat perennial power Dillon to capture the Class 3A State title despite not even winning their region. The Panthers are one of many folks favorites to repeat as champions in 3A but in my opinion that will be a tough mountain to stay on top of with teams like Newberry, Dillon, Woodruff, and others gunning for you. Chapman plays in one of the toughest regions is the state. They have tough games week in and week out.
Chapman is returning most of their team from last year, including star running back DJ Twitty, quarterback Colton Bailey, and a very good wide out in Patrick Phongsat. This offense put up a lot of points on a lot of teams last year. However, if there is a weakness on this offense, and I believe there is, it’s the offensive line. Chapman replaces almost all of their offensive line from last year. In scrimmages the offensive line has not looked good, and Coach Mark Hodge has stated several times that they “are a little thin,” at the position.
This could be a weakness the Jackets could try and take advantage of. Sending pressure could cause a lot of trouble for this Chapman offense. However, Colton Bailey is capable of escaping the pocket and making plays with his feet so you can’t over do it. If the offensive line can’t create holes for their great running back, the Panthers could struggle.
The Chapman defense last year struggled to stop anyone, especially in the early going. The defense should be more experienced this year.
I think the Jackets will come out and try to run the football. Coach Adams says that they want to be a 60-40 run-pass team. If the Jackets can be successful running the ball early I think they can win this game. With the Jackets starting a young quarterback it will be important for him to develop some confidence early. The best way to do that is to allow him to throw short easy passes to rack up some completions. If the Jackets can do this I think they can be successful against the Chapman Panthers.
Other Picks For This Week
Chesnee over Broome
Byrnes over Myrtle Beach
Spartanburg over Summerville
Dorman over Fort Dorchester
Gaffney over TL Hanna
Woodruff over AC Flora
Wagener-Salley over Whitmire
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg.