Knights toopen on theroad at Union

By: W. Curt Vincent -

DUBLIN — West Bladen will travel to Rose Hill on Friday to open Four County Conference play against the Spartans, and Knights coach Russell Dove knows his team will have to be ready for a wide variety of looks from Union.

“It’s hard to describe what they do,” he said. “It’s almost what don’t they do?”

The Spartans, 3-1 after the non-conference schedule, have outscored their four opponents by a 102-19 margin with an offense that will offer a big bag of tricks — from a wishbone to pistol double-wing to shotgun and more — and a big, speedy defense that lines up in a 53.

“It’s tough to get ready for all the things they do,” Dove said. “They have a lot of good skill people who can really go.”

Leading the way on the ground for the Spartans is junior running back Chris Nash, along with senior running back Shyquan Brunson and junior quarterback Donovan Hayes.

“That (Nash) is really fast,” Dove said. “We’ll have to keep him contained as best we can.”

Junior nose guard Andruw Brunson is the hulking center the Union defense is built around, standing at 5-foot, 11 inches and tipping the scales at 380 pounds.

“If he’s pretty stationary, we can handle that,” Dove said. But if he’s pretty mobile, that will cause us problems.”

Dove said the biggest challenges posed by Union will be the Spartans’ speed.

“We’re getting ready for a battle over there,” he said.

West Bladen, 3-1, has outscored its non-conference opponents by a 148-79 margin, and has had two weeks off to prepare for the conference opener.

“There may be some rust, but I think we’ll be ready,” Dove said. “We concentrated on fundamentals last week and then got to work on Union this week.”

He added that his goals to get a win Friday included his defense playing solid and keeping the Spartans off the field — as well as avoiding turnovers, penalties and controlling the clock.

“I just have a feeling special teams will play a big part in this one,” he added.

The Knights are expecting to have senior running back De’quan Lennon back in the lineup, but will have a handful of others who will miss the game with injuries.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent