The Wolverines are 7-1 entering Friday night’s sub-region title tilt against 6-2 Drew at Southern Crescent Stadium.
With both teams flying high after big wins — Union Grove topped Mundy’s Mill 24-13 while Drew pasted Mt. Zion 56-6 — something’s gotta give.
“I think overall our players understand the importance of the [Mundy’s Mill and Drew] games,” said Wolverines coach Paul Burgdorf. “Our goal is to finish number one in the sub-region and it’s still reachable.
“We feel like we’re pretty evenly matched with those teams.”
As has been the case all season, Union Grove’s offense will look to impose its will early against the home standing Titans. It all starts with a Wolverines O-line — anchored by Matt Ivey and Nick Davis — that has been equally stout in pass protection and run blocking.
Top Union Grove playmaker running back Derrick Craine has reached over 1,000 yards on the ground and is in the teens in touchdowns. He and sophomore quarterback Jonathan Slade will be counted on to gash a Drew defense that has in turns been stingy and susceptible to giving up points.
Meanwhile, the Titans offense faces the unenviable task of trying to solve a Wolverines defense that has registered shutouts in its first seven contests this season. That unit, led by lineman Tyler Vaughn has made a habit of using its 4-3 and multiple formations to make nights miserable for opposing quarterbacks while disrupting other elements of enemy offensive game plans.
“We’re pretty aggressive,” said Burgdorf. “Our defensive coordinator does a good job week-in and week-out of putting guys in good positions.
“We won’t sit back [read and react] very often. While our defensive front is taking care of business, we’re going to sneak a linebacker in there somewhere.”
This season’s campaign marks yet another rung of steady improvement for the Wolverines since Burgdorf took the reins three years ago.
“Record-wise, we’ve gotten better each year — from 3-7 the first year, 5-5 last season,” said Burgdorf. “I think overall, from top to bottom, has also gotten better.”
Don’t look for the Wolverines coaching staff to allow their players to rest on their laurels during this watershed season.
In fact, it’s just the opposite.
“We keep preaching to stay hungry and stay humble,” said Burgdorf. “We’re thankful to be 7-1, but we’ve got a big ball game coming up.”