UNION -- Three can go into one. It happened Monday on a grass field. The newly consolidated Union County High School football team held its first practice, with players from Lockhart, Jonesville and Union together as a single unit for the first time.
About 100 players -- now all Yellow Jackets -- showed up for the opening day of spring practice and worked out for 2½ hours in pleasant, breezy conditions.
Coach David Lipsey, formerly of Jonesville, said 25 players came from Jonesville, about 10 from Lockhart and the rest from Union.
"We anticipated about this many," Lipsey said. "One thing it showed is who has kept working in the weight room. They're all out here because they love to play football. That's a big step … bringing them together and getting them to work together."
Togetherness was the theme of the day.
"We're coming together sooner than everybody thought," wide receiver Dwight Brannon said. "It's real important because a team is a team … it isn't no two people, it's a team."
Brannon, coming over from Jonesville, said he's still getting used to the idea of wearing the yellow and black.
"It's coming to me," he said with a smile, "but they've made us feel real comfortable and welcome."
Some of the players had gotten together for individual workouts and meetings prior to Monday. But, for the most part, the practice was the initial introduction.
"We've all been spread out in the spring, with some (guys) doing track and baseball," Lipsey said. "They'll all get together in the summer program. There's a lot of togetherness."
In fact, Lipsey recently encountered Union quarterback Bo Whitney throwing passes to three Jonesville players -- on their own time.
"That's a good sign. Nobody told them to come down there and do that," he said.
For some, such as Whitney, the first practice couldn't come soon enough.
"There's some amazing talent out here … a lot on one field," Whitney said. "This is the first time I've ever seen (some of) these guys. It gets you excited and ready to play."
Lipsey joked that he'd only seen so many players "in about five years" at Jonesville.
Running back Lamont Edney, formerly of Lockhart, said: "We'll be pretty good if we give it some time. We should know how to be together … coming out here to play ball, we should (all) already know."
Coaches kicked off the practice with a stretching and warm-up session before pulling everybody into a huddle for a speech by the head coach.
"We've got to be together no matter what the season brings," Lipsey told the team. "We win together and lose together."
Per the norm for most any football practice, the team then broke up into positional groups and ran individual drills with their assigned coach.
The coaches, also a combination of three staffs, have set out a base offense and defense but will use the spring practice as a "what've-we-got" platform.
"Basically, we know what we want to do," Lipsey said. "That is to identify our best playmakers and figure out the best way to get the ball to them."
Matt Cobbs can be reached at 562-7242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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