BELMONT, Ohio (WTRF) — In his first year at his high school alma mater, Head Coach Bernie Thompson and the Union Local Jets finished just 3-7 last season.
However, with a full season under his belt, Coach Thompson feels he has a better handle on his program heading into year two.
Union Local is set to be a young team this season. Therefore, the focus for Coach Thompson right now is just trying to improve daily.
“These kids I think, they’ve grown a lot over the past year and I think, they now understand who I am as a person, who I am as a coach,” said Coach Thompson. “We focus daily on bringing a good attitude, a good effort from top to bottom.”
The Jets do return some skill players on offense in senior Wide Receiver Hunter McCort, senior Tight End Matt Bateman and fellow senior Wide Receiver Cody Morrison.
Sophomores Caleb McWhorter at Running Back and Dakota Hess at Tight End is also back for year two.
The QB1 battle is between sophomore Cade Kaiser and freshman Carter Blake.
Coach Thompson does have to replace four linemen, but he does see the return of juniors David Burge at guard and Claude Romshack at Tackle.
“Whenever you are replacing four offensive linemen, it’s never easy, so if we can protect our quarterback get the ball out into space, into our skill players hands, which, really, I think, is the strength right now is our skill,” said Coach Thompson. “But the line right now is our big question mark for us, so we’re just looking forward to guys competing and stepping in and trying to do the best they can.”
Coach Thompson says Hess will be the leader of the defense at Middle Linebacker.
He will be joined by Aiden Simalara with McCort, Bateman, Morrison, and McWhorter in the defensive backfield.
“We’re very athletic on that side of the ball,” said Coach Thompson. “The key to any successful defense is tackling. If we can tackle better this year, I’ll be a lot more confident on that side of the ball.”
The Jets open the season on the August 30 when they visit Monroe Central.