Friday Night Lights Returns: Knights add depth, experience this season

The Union Knights 2023-24 football team pictured at Union Stadium in La Porte City. Coaching staff this season includes head coach Jared Pospisil, Joe Hadachek (offensive coordinator), Todd Carlson (special teams coordinator), Chadd Johnson (linebackers), Brad Siebel (DBs), Okee Walker (defensive line), Royce Rottinghaus (defensive Llne), Scott Denner (offensive line), Donny Sallee (wide receivers), PJ Mouton (running backs), Travis Clapp (QBs), and Matt Shelton (offensive line). PHOTO BY TROY BAAS PHOTOGRAPHY

LA PORTE CITY – The Union Knights football team is returning this season with the experience necessary for success and a chance at a winning record.

“[W]e have three or four seniors who have played significant varsity minutes since they were sophomores, and last year seven sophomores made varsity starts,” returning head coach Jared Pospisil told the Telegraph one week out from the team’s season opener set for August 25. “As a result, we have a lot of experience coming back this year.”

While the Knights have not notched a winning record in five years since going 6-4 in the 2018-19 campaign, the ingredients to improve on last season’s 2-7 record are certainly present with 16 letter winners returning and experienced lines on both offense and defense.

Another positive for the Knights this year – roster depth has increased slightly, giving the team some breathing room.

But even with such assets, Pospisil characterized Union’s 2023-24 overall schedule as “challenging” and the district pairings “tough.”

“We’re looking forward to competing in a challenging schedule,” Pospisil said. “Our preseason consists of all playoff-quality teams, several of whom went deep into the playoffs.”

Those first three non-district games — against Aplington-Parkersburg, Mount Vernon, and West Delaware — will be an early test, Pospisil said, that will hopefully prepare the team well for what he sees as a “tough district.”

As part of Class 2A District 6, the Knights are scheduled to face Iowa Falls-Alden, PCM, Vinton-Shellsburg, West Marshall, and familiar foe Jesup.

“PCM and West Marshall have had a lot of success over the years, so they set the bar high,” Pospisil said. “We’re excited to match up with them. Still, we know that teams like Iowa Falls-Alden, Vinton, and Jesup are capable of great things as well, so we look forward to that challenge.”

Sophomore Caden Sorensen and junior Andrew Sadler will lead the Knights at quarterback again this season. Pospisil described both players as “extremely qualified starters” with their own “potent skill sets” who will each “see playing time at the position throughout the season.”

After scrimmaging South Tama last week, Union officially opens the season this Friday on the road against A-P. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Ed Thomas Field in Parkersburg.

The first home game is set for Sept. 1 against Mount Vernon.