MORGANFIELD, Ky. (WEHT) – It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.
That’s a lesson Union County, and many teams that fell in their wake last season, learned emphatically. After starting the season 0-4, the Braves reeled off five-straight wins. Their resurgence propelled them as far as the state quarterfinals before ultimately falling to Elizabethtown.
The Braves could’ve certainly done without that slow start last year, but it did show Derek Johns and his team what they could accomplish at their peak.
Fortunately for Johns, there’s a good chance Union County can build on that late success in 2021. Seven starters return on both sides of the ball, including a loaded backfield composed of Corithian Seals-Portee, Kanye Pollard and Kristopher Hughes.
The trio combined for more than 1900 rushing yards last year, led by Seals-Portee’s 1344 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Seals-Portee was a senior last year, but used an extra year of eligibility granted by Kentucky Senate Bill 128 to return for a fifth season.
In fact, four of five seniors on Union County’s roster will be taking advantage of that bill. For senior defensive end Iverson King, the decision to return came down to being able to prove himself to his team, and to college scouts.
“There’s a chip on my shoulder,” King said. “I’m trying to get after it. I’m trying to get me one. It would be good to get a state championship for our school, and get everybody in Union County happy about football.”
Johns believes his team, which was extremely run-heavy last season, could be considerably more balanced this season because of the progression of junior quarterback Cannon Sheffer. Sheffer is hopeful the Braves can seize momentum early on.
“Our goals are to start off hot instead of cold like last year,” Sheffer said. “We’re trying to come out on Friday and beat Madisonville. That would be a big season opener right there. And if we can get that, then we’ll have a bunch of momentum going into the season, and it should carry us.”
Sheffer and the Braves will be trying to check off that box on Friday, Aug. 20 at home against Madisonville North Hopkins.