Union vs. Gaffney
By BRIAN WHITMORE
Sports Editor - Union Daily Times
Union has one last Big 16 tune up — it’s the defending state champion Gaffney Indians.
The rivals battle on Friday at Union County Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Gaffney (2-0) comes off a 38-35 win over Greenville, ranked No. 1 in 3A at the time. Union comes off a 20-10 loss to Dorman.
Gaffney runs a multiple offense. The biggest threat is QB Malcom Long.
“He’s dangerous running and passing,” said Union coach Tommy Bobo. “We have to contain him.”
That’s easier said that done. Last week, Long passed for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
Receivers Terry Barnes, Tyson Petty and Mark Tate and TE Richard Good are targets for Long’s passes. Barnes caught three touchdown passes last week and Tate one.
Tailbacks Anthony Tyus, Stefan Foster and Jeremiah Cochran are solid. Tyus scored against Greenville. The Indians return just one lineman, Kevin Brockman. On defense, Gaffney uses a Shade 50. The line is a strength with Romeo Adams, Grayson Gentry and Alex Evans leading the way. LB J.B. Shippy and DB Kendrick Tate are two to watch, as well as Garrett Bridges and Kelon Morris in the secondary.
Long and his receivers, depth and a solid defensive front are Gaffney’s key strengths.
“Their speed is our biggest concern,” said Bobo.
This week in practice, Union worked on tackling better and containing the quarterback on defense. The Jackets will try to eliminate penalties (which have called back two touchdowns this season) and try to be more consistent on offense.
Highlights from the Dorman loss were the defense shutting down the Cavaliers in the second half. Clay Alexander led the way with 10 tackles, two assists, four tackles for loss, a sack and a quarterback pressure.
Freddie Bates rushed for 116 yards against Dorman. Brad Shetley graded high on the offensive line.
Kierre Smith did well on punt protection and Brandon Eubanks on the scout team.
For their play, these athletes were honored as players of the week by their coaches.
Union will need more to step up this week against the Gaffney challenge.
“We definitely look to make improvement on both sides of the ball,” said Bobo. “This is our last tune-up before region.”
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