Brad Breland is entering his ninth season as head coach of Union.

“I never really thought I’d stay here 19 years,” Breland said. “It’s been great though – the community’s great, the administration’s great and it’s a great school for my kids as well.”

Of course, he’s referring to his biological kids. But, Breland also has 49 other kids to watch over that make up this year’s varsity team. Some of those players are veterans, like left tackle Michael Rush, quarterback Colby Ferguson and left guard Dustin Welborn.

“I expect everybody to work harder now since they have the experience,” Welborn said. “I think we should mentally work better – see each other as a brother and work for your brother beside you.”

The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 last year in the regular season. They made the MHSAA 2A Playoffs but were shutout by Calhoun City in the second round. Rush shared what he learned from that loss and how he’s using it as motivation for the upcoming season.

“I learned that if you don’t put your all into it, the results aren’t gonna be there,” Rush said. “I plan to reaching the championship and getting all my boys there too.”

The Yellow Jackets have their jamboree against Leake Central on Friday before opening the regular season against Choctaw Central on Aug. 23