UNION — Union County will be get a chance to exact a little revenge on Friday night when it travels to Greer for round two of Class AAA playoff action and the second “Jacket Bowl” of 2012.
The Jackets of Union County were left with a bad taste in their mouths after the Greer Yellow Jackets handed them a 41-28 loss in week three but Union County looks to return the favor this week when the stakes are much higher.
“I think our kids know that we didn’t play as well as we could have in that first meeting,” said Union County Head Coach Steve Taneyhill. “It was 14-0 us, then we hit probably the worst seven minutes of the season and all of the sudden we’re getting beat. I don’t like to look ahead, ever, especially not during playoffs, but I said to the kids last Thursday, ‘Hey, (in my opinion) if we win, you’re gonna get another shot at Greer.’”
Greer will face a Union County squad that appears to have found its mojo just in time for the playoffs.
The defensive line was a nightmare for Wren’s quarterback last week and the secondary made some big plays including two Antonio Tucker interceptions.
Meanwhile, the offense racked up over 630 total yards.
“I really thought the wide receivers did well last week,” said Taneyhill. “Kalay (Jones) made a one-handed catch that got us a big first down and then he jumped over two guys in the end zone for the touch on fourth down. T.J. (Foster) took a hitch and juked a guy and went 30 yards untouched. I really just think our wide-outs outplayed Wren.”
The offensive line offered quarterback Keiston Smith good protection last week, only giving up one sack and the special teams unit was equally impressive, recovering two fumbles.
“We played all three phases of the game last week,” said Taneyhill. “And when you do those things, especially in the playoffs, you’re gonna win those games.”
Greer is coming of a 28-14 win over Seneca that saw running back Quez Nesbitt rush for 172 yards. Union County knows that a key variable on Friday night will be containing the junior phenom.
“We’ve got to put eight guys in the box and take away the run,” said Taneyhill. “If they’re gonna beat us we need to make the quarterback (Josh Gentry) throw the ball.”
He also noted that in the previous meeting, it was Gentry whose rushing was problematic for his Jackets.
“Nesbitt didn’t hurt us as much as the quarterback did,” said Taneyhill. “He made some great plays running the football. It’s a two man offense and you’ve got to take away their strength. Our linebackers didn’t play well in that first meeting and our secondary didn’t tackle, but we’ve been playing a lot better and I think we’ve come a long way since then.”
This one will come down to the performance of special teams and keeping the turnovers to a minimum.
“Those things doomed us in the first game and then helped us win this last game, so if we do a better job in those two departments we ought to have a chance to win,” said Taneyhill.
One Yellow Jackets team will move on to round three while the other will see its season come to an end.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Greer High School.
Sports Editor Tiffany Grady-Hudgins can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com