Gene Phelps | Special to the Gazette
ELLISTOWN – East Union’s football program knows a lot about winning.
The Urchins finished 9-3 overall and made history this season by winning their second consecutive Division 1-2A championship. They were 4-0 in division play and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs for the first time during head coach Kevin Walton’s five-year tenure.
“We’re proud of the season we had,” Walton said. “Our goals were to win the division again and get past the first round of the playoffs.”
Now that those goals have been met, the Urchins want more.
“Our goals for next year ought to be even higher,” Walton said. “The players now know what to expect from me. We’re excited about this program for the years to come. We’ve got something established here.”
Two-year starting quarterback Ty Walton, who completed 151 of 279 passes for 2,800 yards and 38 touchdowns, returns for his junior season.
“He’s got a great work ethic,” Walton said of his son. “He’s not all about him … he wants to reach another level as a team.”
East Union ran the veer Ty Walton’s freshman year, then switched to the spread this past season.
“I think running the veer the year before helped him with his RPOs this year,” Kevin Walton said.
Despite running a spread attack, Walton never junked the running game. Rising 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior running back/receiver Colton Plunk rushed for 1,550 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 2019. He averaged 129 yards per game rushing.
“He’s so fast that we’ll still use him at wide receiver in the spread,” Walton said. “But, he’ll primarily be a running back because of his size, strength and speed.”
At wide receiver, the talented Hayden Roberts returns. The sophomore caught 48 passes for 891 yards and 10 TDs this season.
“He’s a playmaker at receiver and at safety on defense,” Walton said.
Rising senior linebacker Edgar Zapata returns to a rebuilding defense. He finished second on the team in tackles this season with 79. Graduating senior Micha Ellis was the team leader with 86.
“Zapata plays hard and leads by example,” Walton said. “We need him to pick up where Ellis left off. Our defense will be better next year.”