UNION — After three straight road games, the Yellow Jackets (3-3, 0-1) return to the Union County Stadium on Friday night, hungry for their first home win of the season.
Standing in the way is Region III-AAA foe Broome (4-2, 1-0) who is coming off a 42-25 win over Clinton.
Union County suffered its first road loss last Friday at Woodruff, 63-37.
The Centurians, like the Jackets, are under the leadership of a new head coach having lured Jet Turner from Wilson Hall. Turner, who won a AAAA state title at Clover in 2007, has a formula for success that has been well proven. He employs a maddening offense that is remarkably effective, referred to by most as “the scrum.”
The double, inverted wing is basically a mass of 11 tightly aligned bodies surging in one direction.
“I’m familiar with Jet’s stuff,” said Union County Head Coach Steve Taneyhill. “He pulls the guards and has a bunch of guys in the hole making it hard to find the ball. It’s just about controlling the clock and running the football.”
In preparing for an offense that is so seldom used, the Jackets have made adjustments on defense and practices have been a little different.
“It’s such a different game because Broome will come in here really trying to slow the game down,” said Taneyhill. “They’re gonna eat the clock and grind it out. Everything is so much different than what we’ve been doing — Broome’s only thrown 32 passes all year. We’ve really got to be physical.”
The Centurians feature senior quarterback Corey Bennett, who attempted two passes last week against Clinton, completing one for an 18-yard touchdown. Otherwise, Broome was content to play from the ground where it totaled 385 rushing yards on the night. Running backs Desmond Anderson and Cameron Dawkins do most of the legwork for the Centurians, combining for an average of 180 yards per game.
“The key for us is to stop them on first downs — that’s the key to the defense,” said Taneyhill. “If they’re in 2nd and 5 they’re gonna beat you all night so we’ve got to stop them on first.”
Offensively, the Jackets have a slew of talented skill players that will keep the Broome defense on its heels. Senior quarterback Keiston Smith is a dual threat who has contribed over 400 rushing yards and nearly 2,000 passing yards so far this season.
Stevon Johnson and Bubba Thomas have anchored the offensive line in recent weeks and Taneyhill has been pleased with the protection provided by the two seniors.
Union County also showcases four extremely capable wide receivers including Kalay Jones who reeled in six catches for 152 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of two point conversions last week against Woodruff.
Taneyhill’s offensive game plan is simple.
“We can’t go three and out,” he said. “You’re only gonna get eight possessions — two possessions a quarter, and you’ve got to put drives together. You hope you don’t have any three-and-outs, because if you do, the defense is gonna be on the field for a long time.”
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Union County Stadium.
Sports Editor, Tiffany Grady-Hudgins can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at (864) 251-4330.