UNION COUNTY — The Union County High School Yellow Jackets are 0-3 after their 27-20 loss last Thursday night at the hands of the York Cougars. Things do not get any easier for the Jackets as this week they host the 5A Spartanburg Vikings. The Vikings are 1-2 on the season with their lone win coming last week against Etowah, GA.
The Vikings have had their struggles this year. They started the season off with a loss at Summerville that saw several Viking players ejected for personal fouls. In game two, the Vikings had eight players suspended, most of them were starters on offense, and the Vikings got run over by TL Hanna. In their third game this past Friday night they got most of those players back from suspension and some back from injury, and the Vikings put together a complete game and got a win over Etowah.
One of those players returning from injury this past week was running back Zykamren Robinson. In his return to the field he rushed the ball 18 times for 223 yards and three touchdowns. What makes this feat even more impressive is that he did it all with one hand immobilized in a cast. The Vikings have 489 yards rushing for the season, which means that last week, Robinson gained almost as many yards rushing in one game than the Vikings had in the previous two games. With Robinson in the game the Vikings are a much more dangerous team.
The Vikings do have some weak spots. Their main weakness so far this year has been the inability to stop the run. The Vikings opponents this year are averaging 241 yards per game on the ground. This should be a weakness the Jackets will try to exploit on Friday night as last week Union County was able to rush the ball for nearly 350 yards on the York Cougars. Spartanburg has also struggled to find a quarterback.
All off-season the Vikings had a battle at the quarterback possession between Keonte Cartledge and Jax Cash, both of whom are juniors. Cartledge started game one and Cash game two. Both were below average in their first starts, but Cartledge was good in his second start against Etowah and will be the starter this Friday night. The Viking QB’s are completing just over fifty percent of their passes and averaging almost 180 yards per game threw the air.
For the Jackets to be successful on Friday they will once again need to establish the run early. Through three games quarterback Kesean Glover is Union County’s leading rusher with 22 carries for 233 yards. Second on that list is Deshaun Homes has carried it 42 times for 152 yards. Keion Glover is a player to watch for the coming games as well. Running the ball will keep the ball away from Spartanburg’s Zykamren Robinson, who is electric with the ball in his hand.
The Jackets will also need to be able to pass the ball some as well. A successful passing game makes running the ball a lot easier. If a defense has to respect your ability to throw they cannot just stack the box in an attempt to take away the run. Not only will the quarterback be called on to make good throws, the receivers need to catch the ball when the quarterback does and put the ball where it is supposed to be.
Other Picks For This Week
• Broome over Indian Land
• Chapman over Chesnee
• Gaffney over Harding University High
• Boiling Springs over Rock Hill
• Byrnes over Northwestern
• Lewisville over Whitmire
• Greer over Daniel
Tyler Shugart can be reached at tylers140[email protected]