UNION — Union County (1-2) went to work this week after a dropping a 41-28 loss to Greer on Friday preparing for its next test at Fairfield Central (2-1) tonight.
“We’re going to change our defense up a little bit,” said Coach Steve Taneyhill. “We’re gonna tweak a couple things because we’re just giving up too many yards. We’re talking about a team that comes in and goes 2-11 passing for 35 yards — we should never get beat by that team.”
Union County will face a young but capable Griffins squad that features sophomore quarterback Deandre Belton and junior running back Damien Bell. While Bell is a returning starter, Belton is new to the lineup but is quickly becoming an impact player for the Griffins, touting a 45-yard touchdown run during last Friday’s 18-7 win over Chester.
“They don’t throw the ball that much but the quarterback is good and he can make some plays, kind of like Greer’s quarterback,” said Taneyhill.
Union County’s signal caller Keiston Smith will need a little more time in the pocket this week to find his play making receivers, Kalay Jones, Chris Booker, Victor Ruth and T.J. Foster.
“The o-line struggled with blitz pickup on Friday,” said Taneyhill. “We’ve got to just keep working because it’s the same mistakes over and over.”
Practices were physical in preparing for Fairfield Central and the special teams unit received a little more attention as it continues to be a concern for Taneyhill.
“The punter (Brandon Shetley) is good but special teams are hurting us,” said Taneyhill. “Our punt team and kickoff coverage, although it did get better in the second half, needs work and we’re gonna make some changes there.”
In addition to improving the special teams’ performance, Union County’s defense will need to control the line of scrimmage and eliminate the Griffins’ ground game.
If Union County can force the rookie quarterback to throw, it could dictate the outcome of the game. In Week 2, Abbeyville picked off five of Belton’s passes in route to a 30-7 win.
Despite its youth, Fairfield Central is, as always, a worthy adversary and home field has its advantages.
“There’s a great tradition in Fairfield and it’s a tough place to play from what I understand,” said Taneyhill.
However, the Jackets defeated 4-A Spartanburg on the road in Week 1 and after back-to-back home losses are anxious to get the taste out of their mouths.
A win over Fairfield Central would likely do the trick.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.