If the Union Knights football team only goes as far as their offensive line can take them, then fans have every reason to be optimistic about the 2015 season. Union opens the season Friday, hosting a Gladbrook-Reinbeck team that advanced to the Class A state championship game a year ago.
In 2014, the combination of a lot of experience (20 seniors) and youth at key skill positions resulted in an overall record of 8-3, a Class 2A District 6 championship and the school’s seventh consecutive trip to the postseason. As the team prepares for the 2015 campaign, hopes and expectations are high that Union can improve on an 8-3 record from a year ago and advance beyond the second round in the state playoffs.
The foundation, anchored by returning starters Carter Hennessy, Tate Renaud, Daycen Douglass and Michael Ahrendsen, is a strong one, indeed, and opponents will have to contend with a front that averages 6’2” and 260 pounds. The primary beneficiaries of this experience are expected to be a pair of juniors, John Boisen and Isaiah Vaughan. Both return to the starting backfield, eager to turn the valuable experience they gained a year ago into bigger and better results in 2015. There is no doubt that Boisen, who began the 2014 season as the starting quarterback, and Vaughan, one of the top running backs in the district before an injury cut his season short, will have important roles in the Union offense, traditionally one of the most productive in the state. Boisen, though, will have a new array of receivers to throw to, a group eager to use their talent to gain varsity experience.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Knights return a majority of their starters, though replacing Second Team All-State performer Alex Barz and First Team All-District lineman Dakota Hopper will require some very big shoes.
Fortunately, Union has an experienced pair of shoes in the kicking game, as Dakota Hora, returns to lead the team’s placekicking duties.
Certainly, the Union Knights will be one of the teams expected to contend for another district championship in 2015. And with weapons at a variety of positions on the field, they should also be a lot of fun to watch.