HANOVERTON, Ohio (WKBN) – For the second time in the past three years, United has finished atop the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference standings (tied for the conference crown). However, the Golden Eagles are seeking their first outright league title since 1989 (TCL).
This year, they’ll have to accomplish that feat without the combination of a pair of Big 22 standouts – QB Brutus Ogilvie and WR Keaton Baker HIGHLIGHTS: Wellsville vs. United – among others.
United will welcome Minerva in week one on Friday, August 20.
2020 Record: 7-3 (5-1, T-1st place in EOAC)
Coach: DJ Ogilvie, 4th season at United in 2nd stint
2020 Big 22: Keaton Baker; Brutus Ogilvie
Previewing United’s Offense
Scoring Offense: 34.5 (9th in Area)
Total Offense: 387.5
Returning Starters: 7
Key Returnees: Payne Brereton, SR/OL; Nick Hardgrove, JR/ATH; Grant Knight, JR/WR; Lincoln Urmson, SR/RB
Key Losses: Keaton Baker, WR; Cameron Marshall, OL; Nate Miller, WR; Brutus Ogilvie, QB
Name to watch for: Grant Knight, WR
The Golden Eagles completed the 2020 season with a scoring average of 34.5 points per game – the highest total since 2013 (35.1). That feat marked the fifth time in the past nine years that United was able to eclipse 27 points per game.
Without the likes of QB Brutus Ogilvie (2663 yards passing, 26 TDs), WR Keaton Baker (86 catches, 1392 yards, 12 TDs) and Nate Miller (338 yards receiving, 6 TDs), the Golden Eagles lost 55% of their offense from a year ago.
“We’ll have to reinvent ourselves with a huge question mark at quarterback,” Coach Ogilvie said. “We have a couple of nice athletes who I feel can step in and take that role, but it will depend on their leadership and toughness.”
A pair of three-year starters return in receiver Grant Knight (57 catches, 736 yards, 7 TDs) and running back Lincoln Urmson (483 rushing yards, 7 TDs).
“Those two guys we can build from,” Ogilvie said. “We also have junior Nick Hardgrove. We’ll look for his leadership on the field. He’s done a great job in the weight room this off-season.”
Cole Ellyson and Payne Brereton return as starters for United this season.
“They’ve had tremendous off-seasons,” Ogilvie said. “Some guys that I see stepping up and having great seasons along the offensive line are Tyler Dickens, Steffen Jarrett, Jack Strader and Dallas McCracken.”
Previewing United’s Defense
Scoring Defense: 18.3 (13th in Area)
Returning Starters: 7
Key Returnees: Grant Knight, JR/DB; Caden Marshall, JR/LB; Lincoln Urmson, SR/DE
Key Losses: Garrett Bailey, DB; Cameron Marshall, DL; Christian McCon, DL
Name to watch for: Caden Marshall, LB
The defense saw a decrease in points allowed by 11.5-points per game from 2019 (30.8 to 18.3).
“The defensive line is a real strength for us,” Coach Ogilvie said. “The same kids on the offensive line give us some big strong kids upfront.”
Senior Lincoln Urmson finished with 38 tackles, nine for a loss, and four quarterback takedowns last year.
Junior middle linebacker Caden Marshall returns after closing out his 2020 campaign with 128 tackles as he earned First-Team All-Conference honors.
“It’s always a great feeling to have your leading tackler back,” Ogilvie said. “Caden is a really good football player and I think will be even better this season now that he has a full season of understanding our defensive scheme under his belt.”
2020 EOAC Standings
United – 5-1 (7-3)
Leetonia – 5-1 (7-2)
Southern – 5-1 (5-3)
Wellsville – 3-3 (4-6)
Columbiana – 3-3 (4-5)
Valley Christian – 2-4 (2-6)
Lisbon – 1-5 (4-7)
East Palestine – 0-6 (1-9)
Aug. 20 – Minerva
Aug. 27 – at East Canton
Sept. 3 – Crestview
Sept. 10 – Valley Christian
Sept. 17 – at Leetonia
Sept. 24 – at Columbiana
Oct. 1 – East Palestine
Oct. 8 – at Wellsville
Oct. 15 – at Lisbon
Oct. 22 – Southern