There are high aspirations in 2022 for Milton-Union’s fall sports programs as indicated by the coaches of the following programs who provided information for the Fall Sports Preview.
The expectations are high for the Milton-Union Bulldogs after compiling a 10-2 record in 2021 and winning the inaugural TRC championship with a 7-1 league record. Despite losing Blake Neumaier (RB), Nick Walters (OL), Matt Pickrell (DB) and Keris Thwaits (LB) to graduation, the Bulldogs return a boat load of talent in 2022 with 8 returning starters on defense and 9 on offense.
Head coach Bret Pearce, entering 18th season (2000-2012, 2018-Present) with an 108-75 career record has the Bulldogs primed to build upon a TRC championship and a deeper run in the playoffs as he returns four all-state and ten all-league players.
Blake Brumbaugh, Sr. WR/DB. Blake was 1st team All-State as a Safety and scored 16 TD’s on offense rushing and receiving. Led the team in tackles in 2021, adding 5 INT’s. He followed football season with the region 9 P.O.Y. honors in basketball in the winter and the TRC track athlete of the year and another trip to the state track meet in Spring.
Jake Brown, Sr. DL/OL. Jake was 1st team All-State DL, and the TRC defensive lineman of the year in 2021. His blend of strength and speed makes life difficult for opposing linemen. 6.5 sacks and 10 TFL in 2021.
Ethan Lane, Sr OL/DL. Ethan was 3rd team All-State OL in 2021 and 1st team All-TRC. At 6’3”, 270lbs with good footwork, he has started attracting college scholarship offers.
Cooper Brown, Sr. DB/WR. Cooper had 8 INT’s in 2021, including 4 in the Bulldogs first round playoff win against Indian Hill. 1st team all-TRC.
Connor Yates, Sr. OLB/TE. Connor finished 2021 with 5.5 sacks and 16 TFL’s. He added 3 TD’s on offense. He was names 1st team all-TRC on defense and 2nd team on O. He is as “football smart” as he is book smart, and makes many of the defensive calls and adjustments.
Michael Elam, Sr. RB. Michael had 750 yards rushing and 9 TD’s in 2021 despite missing 4 games due to injury. 1st team all-TRC.
Nathan Morter, Sr. QB. 1st team all-TRC on 2021, Nathan threw for 1,253 yards and 15 TD’s. He is 13-2 as a starter for MU the last 2 seasons.
Mason Grudich, Sr. K. Mason was 1st team all-state in 2021.
Jesse Kurtz, Sr. OL. The strongest Bulldog. A 3-year starter on the offensive line.
Colton Hultgren, Sr. DL. Also an accomplished wrestler, Hultgren added 47 tackles, (11 for loss) to an already tough defensive line in 2021.
Conner Gibson, Sr. DB Gibson started all 12 games at corner in 2021, registering 39 tackles.
Trevor Brazina, Sr. OL Started all 12 games in 2021 at center. Trevor makes all of the calls for an offensive line that returns 4 of 5 starters.
Peyton Nichols, Jr. LB Started as a sophomore at LB after lettering as a freshman. Big and strong, Peyton holds down the middle of the Bulldog defense.
GIRLS SOCCER PREVIEW:
Head coach Shawn Brown returns for his third season leading the Lady Bulldogs’ soccer program, which finished 4th in the TRC with a 2-10-5 record.
Several key players return from a year ago, which hopefully leads to more success in 2022.
“Our goal for this year is to significantly improve upon last year,” commented Brown. “The group of seniors this year has great leadership and the common goal of doing what is necessary to make the program successful.”
Leading the charge for the Lady Bulldogs will be Alayna Gentry, Lillie Warner, Keara McKenna, Annie Smith, Ava Berberich, Rachel Jacobs, Morgan Quesinberry and Zyhir Bobbitt.
“The players on the team are selfless and put the team first,” said Brown. “The returning players are skilled and we get back Rachel Jacobs who has recovered from a torn ACL last year and is one of our leading scorers. The incoming group of players is also quite talented and will help both the Varsity and JV teams.”
Look for Milton-Union to make some noise in 2022.
BOYS SOCCER PREVIEW:
The Milton-Union Bulldogs finished with a 10-7-1 record a year ago and finished 4th in the newly formed Three Rivers Conference standings. Senior Landon Bechtel led the way with 24 goals and 14 assists, placing him second in Milton-Union’s all-time scoring record and third in assists. Bechtel was selected as second-team All-State.
The Bulldogs are relatively young in 2022, yet they have an experienced team led by six seniors with considerable varsity experience.
Key returning players are senior striker Mason Grudich (47 Goals, 25 Assists), midfielders Luke Daum, Carson Brown, Defender Braden Schauer and goalie Nate Barker.
Milton-Union Todd Winchester, who has 7 years of experience leading the program, has aspirations of improvement for his young team.
“The TRC will be very tough and we are looking to improve on our fourth place finish from last year,” commented Winchester. “We also want to put ourselves in position to make a run in the playoffs.”
Brett Barnes has been a staple of the Milton-Union golf program as he has 8 years of experience coaching the Bulldogs. This has led to success over his tenure and a league championship a year ago.
“We have been fortunate enough to win three conference titles in a row,” commented Barnes. “2019 and 2020 in the SWBL and last year we went 15-2 and won the inaugural Three Rivers Conference championship in the regular season and the tournament.”
Barnes has the talent on his team to continue the success from the recent past.
Grady Vechazone comes back as a first-team all TRC selection for his senior year. He could via for Player of the Year in the conference.
Colin Fogle was second team all conference and is getting better every day. These two together will be a strong 1-2.
Maria L. Whalen was honorable mention and along with Colten Alcorn will be 3-4.
“We expect to compete for a fourth straight league title,” Barnes stated “Our depth is a major factor, and we hope the kids 3-6 improve quickly throughout the season. We have had a district qualifier now for three straight years and that is a goal for our team and each individual.”
GIRLS TENNIS PREVIEW:
Kevin Brackman takes over the Lady Bulldogs’ tennis program and hopes to continue the success of the program in 2022.
“Last year was a huge year for our program,” stated Brackman. “We are excited for the return of a solid core of girls.”
The Lady Bulldogs are led by sectional champion and state qualifier, Shannon Brumbaugh and top singles players, Ellie Coate and Maggie Black. Also returning for the Lady bulldogs are Megan Grove and Ashlyn McPheron. There is also excitement about the additions of freshman, Peyton Henderson and Senior, Adriana Oliver.
“Our goal is to continue to build and grow our program,” Brackman said. “We are excited to bounce back and look forward to another successful year!”