Urchins confront ‘huge hurdle’ at Baldwyn

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com Blake Spruill, who's rushed for 778 yards and 11 touchdowns, leads East Union against Baldwyn tonight.

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Blake Spruill, who’s rushed for 778 yards and 11 touchdowns, leads East Union against Baldwyn tonight.

By Brandon Speck

Daily Journal

East Union has only one blemish on its 6-1 record. That came last week with a loss to Walnut in a Division 1-2A game.

Coach Scott Duley is trying to guide his team through more rough division waters tonight at Baldwyn.

“Huge, huge, huge, huge hurdle,” Duley said. “They just look very athletic, very large, very fast.”

Two-year-old East Union has beaten more-established teams and is ahead of the progress many thought possible.

Bids opened Thursday for construction on their own field. The Urchins currently play at New Albany’s BNA Bank Park.

“It’s tremendously important,” Duley said. “They’ve been dressing in a tractor shed, which is all well and good, and it doesn’t seem to bother them. When we get our facilities across the street, home games will be home games. BNA Park’s been great to us.”

This year’s team is led by Blake Spruill, a senior with 778 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. The Urchins have scored 30 or more points in three of their wins. Defensively, senior Ty Ballard is the leading tackler with 5.4 per game and Spruill has a team-high six tackles for loss.

A division title will seemingly go through Baldwyn or Walnut. Those two meet next week, but East Union wants to be in that conversation, too.

Bearcats on rise

Baldwyn started the season 0-2, but as injuries have started to heal, the Bearcats have won five of six and are 2-0 in the division. Behind a run-heavy offense, Baldwyn is averaging nearly 48 points per game.

Sophomore Tyran Shinault has a team-high 421 yards. Junior Laquintez Upshaw has scored six of Baldwyn’s 22 rushing touchdowns.

The Urchins are swimming – technically Urchins use their tentacles to cling – in the right direction, but Duley knows there are still sharks to get past.

The staff is re-simplifying the offense after the 35-8 Walnut loss in which Duley said they didn’t respond well to adversity.

The Urchins get another shot.

“The kids play hard. They always give themselves a chance to compete,” Duley said. “Who thought East Union would be 6-1? But they suffered their first loss last week and it bothered them.”

brandon.speck@journalinc.com