The Union City football team has an influx of young players, and the Bears are hoping they can bounce back from a 1-9 season.
Union City Bears
Coach: Randy Gunther (16th season, 58-95)
2013 overall record: 1-9
2013 region record: 1-6 (seventh)
2013 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top players lost: Shane Russell, Storm McDonald, Logan Kallay, Brett Reynolds
Top returning players: Brody Mangel, Tyler Johnson, Austin Kesselring, Jake Kolodziejczak, Tanner Hancock
Assistant coaches: Paul Yoculan, Josh Kerns, Jim Sheldon, Frank Cutshall
Outlook: Union City will have an experienced offense back this season led by quarterback Brody Mangel. As a junior threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 1,079 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is joined in the backfield by Tanner Hancock, who ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns, as well as Josh Still. Jake Kolodziejczak hauled in 16 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns and provides an outside threat for Mangel to throw to. The Bears return Tyler Johnson, Austin Kesselring and Brandon Kent on the offensive line as Union City looks to improve on scoring 19.5 points per game in 2013. The Bears will have to replace big-time lineman Storm McDonald, running backs Shane Russell and Bretty Reynolds as well as tight end Logan Kallay, but Union City has the experience and talent to be a tough offense to beat in Region 2.
The Bears have some big holes to fill left by graduation on defense. Russell was a standout running back but he was also Union City’s leading tackler with 71 as a senior. McDonald was a three-year starter on the defensive line, and Kallay will be missed on the defensive line as well. Reynolds is another big loss in the secondary for the Bears. Johnson and Kesselring are quick defensive ends that could disrupt the rhythm of a quarterback. Johnson is a three-year starter on the defensive line and Kesselring has started there the past two seasons. Hancock and Kent will be counted on the lead the linebackers and Mangel, Kolodziejczak and Still return in the secondary. The Bears allowed 41.1 points per game last season in their 4-4 defense and must be able to stop the run in order to get that average down this fall.
Union City has experience back, but the Bears have several areas that need to be addressed this fall. Union City runs a triple option offense and needs to fill in a fullback position as well as three offensive linemen. Coach Randy Gunther said that the defense needs huge improvements after last year after the Bears allowed too many points each game. Union City could receive some help from the lower levels as Riley Cross is an up and coming running back and linebacker, while Emmett Murphy is a wide receiver and defensive back. Union City struggled to get going in 2013 with a 63-6 loss to Lakeview right away and two tough road losses at Mercyhurst Prep and Maplewood. The Bears finally rebounded with a 50-19 win over Youngsville and they took Iroquois to overtime but they couldn’t slow teams down in Region 2. Union City will need a better start to grow confidence, but it won’t be easy with the schedule this fall. The Bears open at Class AA Seneca before welcoming Cochranton and Saegertown in back-to-back weeks. Union City also has to travel to Iroquois, Harbor Creek and Maplewood to go with home games against Eisenhower, Cambridge Springs and Corry. The Bears don’t have an easy schedule and they need their defense to step up in a big way this season.
29 at Seneca 7
5 Cochranton* 7
12 Saegertown* 7
19 at Iroquois* 7
26 at Youngsville* 7
3 Eisenhower* 7
10 at Harbor Creek 7
17 Cambridge Springs* 7
24 at Maplewood* 7
31 Corry 7
*Region 2 game
Next up: Warren
Union City Bears
Coach: Randy Gunther (15th season, 57-86)
2012 overall record: 3-7
2012 region record: 3-4 (tied for fourth)
2012 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 playoffs.
Top players lost: Josh Reinke, Gage Michael, Nick George, Jeff Berger, Austin Kinney
Top returning players: Brody Mangel, Shane Russell, Storm McDonald, Tyler Johnson, Brett Reynolds
Assistant coaches: Paul Yoculan, Jim Sheldon, Brian Patten, Josh Kerns
Outlook: Union City was in some trouble last season. The Bears had to forfeit their Week 2 game against Mercyhurst Prep because of injuries and low numbers, putting the rest of the season in doubt. Union City then bounced back to beat Maplewood 34-31 the following week. The Bears are not only looking for higher numbers on their roster this year but just some stability as a program. Union City has a playmaker in Brody Mangel at quarterback and could be a tough team to beat in Region 2. The Bears will need several backs to come up and take on a heavy workload left behind by Josh Reinke. Union City will be young in some respects but also experienced in several areas. The Bears have a tough home opener against Lakeview before hitting the road to take on Mercyhurst Prep and Maplewood. Union City also gets two region contenders in Cochranton and Cambridge Springs to close out the first half. With Class AA Corry and Girard on the schedule in the second half, the Bears will need to improve quickly in order to win more than three games this season. Union City has enough experience to contend for the postseason, now they need to prove they belong in the playoff conversation. Union City has plenty of experience back on offense but will have to find a way to replace Reinke. He was voted to the all-region first team at all-purpose after rushing for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns on 141 carries and hauling in 23 catches for 467 yards and seven touchdowns. Gage Michael, Nick George and Jeff Berger are graduation losses on the offensive line and wide receiver Austin Kinney is also gone this season. Michael was voted to the all-region second team at offensive line, while Kinney caught two passes for 34 yards and one touchdown. The Bears have pretty much everyone else returning this season. Mangel, a quarterback, had a breakout season with 538 passing yards to go with eight touchdowns, and he also ran for 479 yards and five touchdowns. Fullback Shane Russell is back after rushing for 345 yards and Brett Reynolds could see extended carries at running back. Reynolds could step up to replace Reinke, while Storm McDonald and Tyler Johnson are back to anchor the offensive line. The Bears will be looking for a few linemen in camp as well as a few wide receivers. The Bears’ defense will be without two all-region selections gone to graduation. Reinke was voted to the first team at defensive back and Michael was a second-team defensive lineman. Kinney and George are losses at linebacker, while Berger leaves a hole on the defensive line. Union City has Johnson back at linebacker, and Russell and McDonald back at defensive line. Mangel and Reynolds will lead a young group in the secondary. The Bears will need several defensive linemen to step into starting roles in camp and they will look for two defensive backs and at least one linebacker. Union City had trouble slowing teams down in Region 2 and will need a better effort on defense this season.
30 Lakeview 7
6 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7
13 at Maplewood* 7
20 Cochranton* 7
27 Cambridge Springs* 7
4 Youngsville* 7
11 at Girard 7
18 at Eisenhower* 7
25 Iroquois* 7
1 at Corry 7
*Region 2 games
Here is a look at the Union City football schedule this fall. We will publish schedules as we receive them from schools.
All times p.m. unless otherwise noted.
|Union City Bears|
|Aug. 17||at Northwestern||10 a.m.|
|Aug. 23||at Reynolds||6 p.m.|
|Sept. 6||at Mercyhurst Prep*||7|
|Sept. 13||at Maplewood*||7|
|Sept. 27||Cambridge Springs*||7|
|Oct. 11||at Girard||7|
|Oct. 18||at Eisenhower*||7|
|Nov. 1||at Corry||7|
*Region 2 games
Brody Mangel has been one of the key contributors in helping Union City bounce back from an 0-2 start and a shortage of players.
Mangel, a 6-foot 1-inch, 175-pound sophomore quarterback, showed his diverse skills Friday in the Bears’ 38-14 victory over Youngsville.
Mangel finished with 171 total yards and had a hand in three touchdowns as the Bears improved to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in Region 2. He completed 4-of-7 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, and he added 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
Mangel helped Union City take a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter when he completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Josh Rienke. Mangel added a 5-yard touchdown run late in the first half and scored on a 21-yard run in the third quarter.
Mangel has completed 18-of-35 passes for 312 yards and six touchdowns this season. He’s also rushed for 278 yards and three touchdowns.
He is the second consecutive Union City player to win the Breakout Award online voting. Reinke won the award a week ago.
Despite trouble with numbers this season, the Union City football is very much in the playoff race.
A big reason for that success is the leadership and outstanding play of senior running back Josh Reinke. In a crucial 35-12 win over Cambridge Springs, Reinke ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass.
In four games, Reinke has rushed for 330 yards and five touchdowns and has 11 catches for 179 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bears will need to fight each week to make the postseason, and they have a steady playmaker in Reinke to lead the way.
The Union City football team entered the season with low numbers and its worst fear was realized when the roster dipped below a safe number of athletes. The Bears have forfeited their game against Mercyhurst Prep, scheduled for Friday, but hope to get enough players back to compete in their game next week against Maplewood.
Union City Bears
Coach (season): Randy Gunther (1st season)
2011 overall record: 2-8
2011 region record (place): 2-6 (tied for sixth)
2011 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class A playoffs.
Top players lost: Justin Bengel, Kyle Hetrick, Cole Lewis, Curtis Brown
Top returning players: Josh Reinke, Gage Michael, Storm McDonald, Brody Mangel
Outlook: Union City’s future could be in jeopardy after a low turnout over the summer. The Bears have 20 returning players from last year and only three confirmed freshman so far. Randy Gunther takes the program over after a quick one-year stint by Joe Sanford. Union City graduated Justin Bengel, Kyle Hetrick, Cole Lewis and Curtis Brown in the spring and lost Jarred Brooks, who moved. Lewis was a second-team all-region offensive lineman, while Bengel was a second-team linebacker. Hetrick led the Bears in rushing last season with 644 yards and six touchdowns on 148 carries, while Brooks was second at 265 yards on 59 carries. He also had four catches for 34 yards and one touchdown.
Union City has a decent group back this season but depth will be a major issue. Josh Reinke, a second-team wide receiver and defensive back, led the Bears with 19 catches for 346 yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback Brody Mangel is also back after throwing for 377 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman. Gage Michael and Storm McDonald are back on the line and their leadership could be crucial this fall. Running back Jason Klus and wide receiver Austin Kinney could step in right away and be impact players for the Bears. Union City opens with two brutal games at Lakeview and a home opener against Mercyhurst Prep. A three-game stretch could decide the Bears’ season at the end of September. Union City travels to Cochranton, Cambridge Springs and Youngsville in three straight weeks. The Bears may still be a year away from contending but building the program and generating interest are the two most important things for Union City this year.
31 at Lakeview 7
7 Mercyhurst Prep* 7
14 Maplewood* 7
21 at Cochranton* 7
28 at Cambridge Springs* 7
5 at Youngsville* 7
12 Girard 7
19 Eisenhower* 7
26 at Iroquois* 7
2 Corry 7
*Region 2 games
– Tom Reisenweber
The Erie Times-News and GoErie.com are continuing District 10 football preview coverage this week, leading up to Friday’s season openers. Starting Sunday, the preview coverage included Region 6, McDowell and Region 4. The coverage will continue through Thursday. Included in each preview are complete rosters for each team.
Earlier, the Times-News published the 112-page Kickoff preseason guide and posted the online Summer Huddle series on the Varsity blog.
Union City Bears
Coach (season): Joe Sanford (1st season)
2010 overall record: 5-5
2010 region record (place): 5-3 (tied for third)
2010 playoff results: Lost 33-0 to Farrell in the District 10 Class A quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Greg Reinke, Ryan Myers, Luke Hetrick, Shane Rankin
Top returning players: Justin Bengel, Austin Shettler, Cole Lewis, Curtis Brown, William Manross, Shane Russell, Tim Vargo, Kyle Hetrick, Coltin Warner, Tyler Lindsley, Jarad Brooks, Jeff Burger, Josh Reinke
Assistant coaches: Randy Gunther, Paul Yoculan, Dan Clark, Brian Patten, Josh Kerns and Ray Salmon
Outlook: Union City looked for a new direction in the offseason and hired long-time coach Joe Sanford. Sanford has been a head coach at Corry and Seneca as well as an assistant and defensive coordinator at McDowell. His first priority is to get to know the team and start developing a gameplan that will work. Sanford hasn’t coached on the Class A level and will have to get used to a different style of football.
The Bears lost a few key players from last year’s playoff team, including Greg Reinke, Ryan Myers, Kurt Hetrick and Shane Rankin. Union City has plenty of experience, however. Justin Bengel, Austin Shettler, Cole Lewis, Curtis Brown, William Manross and Jeff Burger are back to anchor the offensive and defensive lines, while Tim Vargo, Coltin Warner and Shane Russell could compete for the starting quarterback job. Kyle Hetrick and Tyler Lindsley are back to compete for carries in the backfield along with Jarred Brooks and Josh Reinke.
Union City will be in for some changes in the offseason and could sneak up on some teams under Sanford. The Bears have a huge test to start the season at Lakeview before an interesting home opener against Youngsville. Union City’s chances for the region title and a playoff spot should be determined in October with games against Cambridge Springs, Maplewood, Iroquois and Mercyhurst Prep.
2 at Lakeview 7
9 Youngsville* 7
17 at East 7
23 Cochranton* 7
30 at Saegertown* 7
7 Cambridge Springs* 7
14 Maplewood* 7
21 at Iroquois* 7
28 Mercyhurst Prep* 7
4 at Eisenhower* 7
Look for the Kickoff magazine at a Country Fair near you beginning Aug. 15. The 112-page magazine previews the upcoming District 10 football season, including top returning players, schedules, stats and more.
– Tom Reisenweber
Union City will try to regroup this season after losing Jared Burger, District 10′s top rusher during the 2009 regular season. Coach Brian Patten will look for leadership from quarterback Ryan Myers, who was second on the team in rushing last season with 681 yards. Another running prospect is Greg Reinke. Check out the preview:
After reviewing the statistics and overall performances, here are our nominees for the Breakout Player of the Week. In an oddity, receivers dominate this weekend’s poll.
Vote in the poll at upper right. We’ve added one player from Friday and several players from Saturday.
The winner will be announced Tuesday on the Varsity blog and will be featured in Friday’s sports edition.
Josh Niswonger, General McLane: 4 receptions, 49 yards; TD catches of 10, 18 and 5 yards, including the game-winner in the closing seconds.
Courtney Harden-Pullium, Strong Vincent: 4 receptions, 170 yards, including a 64-yard TD catch
Josh Rzepecki, Harbor Creek: 9 receptions, 125 yards; TD catches of 3, 3, 13 and 7 yards.
Braidy Westfall, Corry: 3 receptions, 132 yards, including TD catches of 80 and 49 yards. Also caught a two-point conversion pass.
Justin Wiley, Cathedral Prep: 8 carries, 91 yards; TD runs of 6 and 49 yards, 12-yard TD receptions — all in the first half Saturday
Ryan Myers, Union City: 80-yard TD reception, 74-yard kickoff return for a TD, 8-for-12 passing for 106 yards, 2-point conversion pass
Dan Odem, Farrell: 20-yard interception return for TD, 5-of-8 passing for 85 yards and and four touchdowns, 11-yard TD run
Chris Kurzik, Mercyhurst Prep: 18 rushes for 122 yards and a TD.
Matt Stapleford, Warren: 16-of-24 passing for 227 yards and 2 TDs, two-point conversion pass, TD runs of 3 and 10 yards
Note: North East’s Jimmy Bailey and Mercyhurst Prep’s Aaron Horton were previous winners and were not eligible to win this week.