UNION COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — The Union County Patriots finished the 2021 season with a 2-6 record, but three of those losses were by eight or fewer points.

“Expectations are to get back to where we were before COVID. We actually made the playoffs,” said Union County head coach Steven Smith. “We were one game out from making the playoffs, and then COVID knocked us down a little bit as it did everybody. We’re trying to get the program built back up. Our numbers are good this year. They’re as high as they’ve ever been. We’re returning a lot of sophomores and juniors that played as sophomores and juniors.”

The Patriots return seven starters on both sides of the ball, which they believe will help them turn some of those close contests in their favor.

“We’re gonna take a lot of the knowledge that we learned from last year and a lot of the heartbreaking losses that we had that we’re really close, and we’re gonna hopefully be able to change that this season and turn them into really good wins,” said Union County senior guard and linebacker Matthew Parsons.

Part of the process is Union County changing up its offense.

“Our skill guys have really showed up,” said Smith. “(They) have been working on some of the things we want to do is maybe spread it out a little bit more and throw it around a little bit more than we have in the past.”

Union County will unveil the new style of offense on Aug. 19 against West Greene.