Union County is back in action this week with its third straight road test. This time the destination is Woodruff where the Wolverines, who are making their transition from 2-A to 3-A, will be waiting.
Woodruff employs a pass-happy offense that features wide receiver Blake Bone. Bone, a junior, already has offers from Division I schools including Clemson and South Carolina.
“He’s good,” said Union County Head Coach Steve Taneyhill. “He’s not the fastest player in the country, but he’s not slow. He can go get it. On third down they look his way, on fourth down, they look his way. We’re gonna definitely need to know where he is because he’s a big part of their offense.”
The Wolverines lost a slew of talent to graduation in several key spots, including running back Shun Tribble. However, Bone and company have filled the voids.
Expect to see a high-powered Woodruff offense that loves the passing game and will air it out every chance it gets.
“They’re kind of the mirror image of us,” said Taneyhill. “But they really do want to throw it just about every play and they’ve got some weapons.”
Brian Bailey — a senior transfer from Byrnes — and junior Ben Beck share time in the quarterback position and Union County will likely see both players take some snaps.
Woodruff runs a defense similar to that which Union County faced last week at Newberry — a three-man front with a lot of man coverage.
“The only difference is they’ll blitz a lot more,” said Taneyhill. “They’re gonna take some chances and they’re gonna try and put pressure on the quarterback.”
The Jackets will look to return the favor. This is the type of offense that Taneyhill has prepared his team for since the summer months.
“We’ve got a little different look on defense this week because we’re finally gonna see a team that really likes to throw it and mostly we’ve seen teams run it at us,” he said. “All those 7-on-7 games and trips we took this summer was really for a game like this where we can do multiple things on defense. This will really be the first time we’ve seen a team that’s gonna come out and throw first and run second.”
Defensive linemen Jamarcus Henderson and Devonte Wood have played key roles for the Jackets this season. The two have combined for nine sacks and provided a pass rush that will be crucial for Union County on Friday night.
“We’ve been working a lot with the DBs and linebackers,” said Taneyhill. “Pressuring the quarterback is going to be a huge factor for us on Friday.”
The Wolverines toppled the Jackets in 2011 in a 66-32 blowout where starters didn’t leave the game until 6 minutes remaining. This has likely not been forgotten by Union County. Now the two are aligned in the same region, Friday’s contest promises to be a grudge match with more on the line than just bragging rights.