The Panthers are gearing up for a redemption tour. It’s been agonizing to watch a program with so much talent and success fall short in the opening round of the state playoffs. That’s been the case in five of the past six years, and the program has NEVER won a state playoff game. A region title is also in the cards for the Panthers in 2019. They return a very gifted QB in Pierson Allison, and two incredibly athletic receivers in Sawyer Drake and Kyle Morlock. Coach Brian Allison has some holes he’s had to fill, but this team went 9-2 a year ago and are looking for even better this time around.
7 Things To Know About the Panthers
1. Next Man Up
Again, there aren’t a ton of questions for this group, but at running back, it’ll be next man up in the form of Jonah Daniel (JR), and at cornerback with Zion Ross (SR).
2. Strength is Skill Positions
Allison, Drake, and Morlock anchor the skill positions. This is the strength of the Union County team.
3. Focus On Development
If there is an area of need, it’s at the linebacker position and on the O-Line. That’s where coach Brian Allison has said the primary focus has been during the offseason. If those areas can duplicate last year’s success, you take that in conjunction with Pierson Allison’s progression, and it should be a team that gets the monkey of its back.
4. Spread Attack Is Nearly Unstoppable
Allison enters year two as the starting QB, and with weapons Drake and Morlock, and Daniel in the backfield, Union should once again spread the field out and obliterate opposing defenses. Few teams were able to slam the door on this group…it’s a special unit to be sure.
5. The Old Reliable 3-4 Defense
Union expects to be in the base 3-4 defense once again in 2019, with three down linemen and four linebackers. This allows for some maneuvering as needed and put more pressure on the quarterback. The keys to the 3-4 vehicle belong to Nathaniel Ledford, Sloan Sutton, and John Mancuso. This is a hard-nosed group.
6. Not Much Depth
“Not much depth,” says coach Allison on the O-Line and D-Line. That’s about par for most programs. Aaron Helton, Drake Groves, Wright Hogsed (a perfect name for a lineman), and Lance Patton…those are the unsung heros on the Panthers roster.
7. You’re Guess Is As Good As Ours
“Not sure where we will be,” says Allison in regards to where this program ends up once the dust has settled. In all fairness, it’s not the most fair question to ask any team when zero games have been played. Our guess, this team gets past that first round of the playoffs, deservingly so.