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Injuries currently plague the Union County squad, as they are on the road at Strayhorn on Friday.
With five starters out for this evening’s contest, head coach Scott Duley has worked this week to fill positions with the best available players.
“We’re just trying to plug kids in. We don’t have a lot of depth, but we’re just putting the best kids in spots,” Duley said. “We have starting center, defensive tackle, linebacker, long snapper and kicker; about five starters out right now. For anyone, that’s difficult, but for us, it’s especially difficult. All we can do is encourage the ones left to fill in the best they can, and so that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to find the best people available.”
Currently at 2-3, the Mustangs look to rebound from a 34-0 loss to Tunica Academy last week and have wins over H.W. Byers and Coldwater to their credit.
“They’re a good team,” Duley said. “They have a very good running back, defense and offensive line. They’re 2-3, and they’ve played all but one that they’ve lost very close.”
An area Duley could not work on last week was the offensive line. With everyone returning except the center, Duley has turned the focus to working with that unit, hoping for a better offensive showing this week.
“We worked board drills for about 30 minutes yesterday just to try to remind them of what their responsibilities are,” he said. “That went well, and we had a good practice yesterday. Hopefully we’ll have better results from them.”
One area that has excelled for Union County is the defense. While the scores may not reflect their effort, defensive end Jonathan Stegall noted how hard the group has worked this season.
“They’ve scored on us a lot, but those teams have been playing for several years, and our defense has really stepped up,” he said. “The scoreboard says different, but they haven’t run the score up on us like what people have expected, and we’re also playing high quality teams. We’re trying.”
Representing West Union, Stegall is a transfer from South Pontotoc and brings much experience from his time with the Cougars.
‘We played Houlka in their first year, and they were not very good,” he said of his time at South Pontotoc. “When I got here, I expected this team to be about the same, but it’s like a team that has played for several years. It’s like coming into the same team basically. We’re dealing with injuries right now, but we’re dealing with it and we’re fighting with our backups. They’ve been showing up and playing well for us.”
Friday’s game is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.