East Union is one week away from opening the school’s first football season, but the energy and excitement are the same from when the team was county-wide.
Opening against Hatley next Friday, the Urchins are anxious for the new year as well as a little revenge from last year’s loss in the season opener.
“We have Hatley, and that was a tough experience for us last year,” senior Nicky Greszler said. “We come into this year with more experience, and I feel like we can play better at the varsity level than last year, so I think we have a better chance against them this year.”
The Urchins have nine seniors this year and will play one more season as an independent before being placed in a division in 2A in 2013. With the team basically the same from last year’s Union County squad, senior Vadale Rucker said it’s like a family working together every day.
“Since we have the team out here now, it’s been fun,” he said. “We all know each other, so we automatically have team chemistry; we’re all brothers.”
Added Greszler, “It’s been good so far. We’ve had our ups and downs, but more than anything, we’re seeing that we’re a more developed team.”
“It seems like we’re more family oriented, we know what we’re doing and we have more experience from last year.”
The Urchins will play the same schedule Union County played last year with the lone addition being a season-closing game at McLaurin on Oct. 19. East Union will face local teams in Benton County and Potts Camp, and its biggest opponent will once again be Ripley on Sept. 14.
The team now practices at East Union, a benefit for them, as no practice time is cut traveling to BNA Bank Park, like they have done in previous years. Three home games are slated for this year and will still take place at BNA Bank Park.
For now, the focus is on next week’s game at Hatley, and the Urchins know what they must do in order to be successful this season.
“We’re all anxiously awaiting that first game,” Rucker said. “We had too many turnovers last year, and we’ve been working a lot on that, eliminating turnovers. Being a senior, I know I’m going to miss playing football here, and I hope we have more wins and we do a lot better this year.”
Greszler added, “I hope this year that we come out with more wins, more enthusiasm and less penalties and we just come out as a better high school football team this season.”
New Albany will be featured on Friday, as the Bulldogs are set to host Kossuth in a jamboree game Friday night.