UNION COUNTY — The 2018 football season did not get off exactly to the start that Yellow Jacket fans were hoping that it would. Union County dropped the season opener to the Chapman Panthers by a 59-40 final score.
While the final score was not exactly what everyone hoped it would be, there are some positives to take away from this game. Number one for me is the improvement of the Yellow Jacket offense as a whole. Coach Bryan Robinson, the new offensive coordinator, did a good job of calling plays and putting players in the positions to make big plays. Last year the Yellow Jacket offense averaged 15.7 points per game in eleven games, and the most they scored in any game that season was 24 against Boiling Springs. So 40 points in one game is a drastic improvement from last year. Robinson did a fine job of mixing in pass and run and called a great game.
The second improvement was the play of starting quarterback Kesean Glover. Glover, who is now a two-year starter, looked really good Friday night against Chapman. Glover had over 100 yards on the ground with three rushing touchdowns. He also threw the ball for around 250 yards and a touchdown. The new offense fits Glover well. If he can stay healthy he’s going to have a big year. Glover is one of the most athletic quarterbacks I have seen in our area recently.
Third thing that looked good was running back T.T. Kershaw. Kershaw carried the ball 21 times and had over 180 yards on the ground, with two rushing touchdowns. Kershaw also caught a couple of passes and ended up with nearly 70 yards receiving. Kershaw is an explosive player with really big potential.
Jacob Crocker also did a really good job punting for Union County on Friday night as he had several really big punts including one that pinned Chapman deep inside their own five yard line.
With all those positives, and some that I am sure I am missing, there was one glaring problem that I know the coaching staff will be working hard all week to correct. Pass Defense. Chapman’s quarterback, who was making his first Varsity start, was able to torch the Jacket defense to the tune of 275 yards and four touchdowns through the air. The Jacket secondary struggled to cover receivers and head coach Brian Thompson, being a defense guy, isn’t going to like that. I would expect there to be some changes in that area very soon, whether it is players, or scheme.
This week the Jackets will be at home again against AC Flora. The Falcons come into this game 0-1 on after dropping their season opener last week to Beaufort 35-21. In fact, the Falcons have not won a game since November 18, 2016 when they defeated Myrtle Beach in the first round of the playoffs that year. The next week they lost to Hartsville, and after the season their head coach, Reggie Shaw, departed for the same job at Byrnes High School. Since then the Falcons have lost 12 straight.
Do not let the losing streak fool you. This year’s Flora team is much improved from last year according to UCHS Head Coach Brian Thompson.
“They have some real good athletes, and are very dangerous especially at the skill positions,” Thompson said. “They also run very well defensively and are much improved on that side of the ball.”
I think the Jackets will get into the win column this week. I think the Jackets athletes on offense will be too much for Flora to handle. Hopefully the Jacket defense will improve and shut down the Falcons, but I still like the Jackets chances if it is a shootout.
• Broome over Woodruff
• Greer over Spartanburg
• Chapman over Seneca
• Gaffney over Greenwood
• Landrum over Dixie
• Whitmire over Great Falls
• Byrnes over Northwestern
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg. He can be reached at [email protected]