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Countdown to Kickoff: Union County Tigers

Tigers hungry to be top team in Florida
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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UNION COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB) - The Union County Tigers are on a mission this fall.

In the second year under head coach Andrew Thomas, the Tigers are hungry to become the gold standard in high school football in the sunshine state.

“We want to be a team that’s competing at the highest level year in and year out,” said Union County Head Coach Andrew Thomas. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve. We want to be one of the best programs in the area and eventually be one of the best programs in the state.”

That mindset comes from being a back-to-back state champion. Thomas was the head coach of Trenton, when the Tigers won it all in 2012 and 2013.

While the competition he’s coached against has always brought its A-game, it was nothing compared to the challenge of coaching through a pandemic.

“I took over the job right when COVID hit,” said Thomas. “Biggest thing was just our strength as a team. We were way behind in the weight room when I took over. We were weak.”

Union County started slow in 2020, but eventually caught its stride and won four consecutive games, scoring 40 or more points in each contest, before eventually falling in the Class 1A Region Title game.

Carrying that momentum into 2021 has been helped by the return of a normal offseason schedule.

(CURRAN WEBB/SENIOR LINEBACKER)

“I think we’re gonna be really good this year because it’s our second year with this program, with these coaches,” said Union County senior linebacker Curran Webb. “We learned a lot more from the spring and summer, so we’re a lot further along than we were last season.”

Not only has this past offseason been critical for developing the Tigers physical skills and familiarity with the playbook, but Thomas’ winning edge and mindset has started to put down roots, too.

“With Coach Thomas, he came in with a new type of team culture,” said Union County senior wide receiver Aidan Newsom. “Just like a mentality of next man up. No matter what happens we’re gonna hit hard. We’re gonna play harder than everyone else. And I feel like what’s gonna help us this year, everyone’s started to buy into that culture.”

The Tigers will put their skills to the test this fall when they kickoff their season against Branford on August 27.

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