Kroner's football tour: Unity
TOLONO — The first thing to notice about the Unity High football roster is the balance. There are 15 seniors, 19 juniors, 18 sophomores and 24 freshmen.
Though 17 lettermen return from a team that was 12-2 and played for the Class 3A state championship last year, only four offensive starters and five defensive regulars return.
“We always have a little bit of a difficult time replacing some kids,” coach Scott Hamilton said. “We play so many seniors (annually), we’re accustomed to having turnover. We feel confident we can put things together.”
The Rockets’ veterans include quarterback Justin Deters, who passed for 1,064 yards as a junior, and running back Conner Grace, who rushed for 1,567 yards.
Guards Dalton Grimm and Anthony Vasquez also return.
“They’re coming back and can take on a leadership role,” Hamilton said.
As happens every fall, a group of seniors emerges as ones who’ll be key contributors.
Among these are receivers Darian Goembel and Mitchell Snodgrass as well as noseguard Tyler Crowl and linebacker Kameron Heath.
Hamilton, who has taken 19 of his 19 Unity teams to the playoffs, expects the Rockets to reload, not rebuild.
“At this time of year, I try to gauge whether they are quarterfinal-capable,” Hamilton said. “I think this is a team that can do those types of things.
“Last year, we had a team that was all about team. They worked hard every day and overachieved a little bit. It may have been the most satisfying year I’ve had.
This year, we’re off to a great start with our attitude and work ethic.”
Unity opens the season on Aug. 30 at Warrensburg-Latham.