Note: Union finished with a 2-9 overall record in 2019 and was sixth in Region 14 with a 0-5 record. It was RPI seed No. 14 in the 3A playoffs, and was eliminated by Grantsville 48-7 in first round.
ROOSEVELT — For a quarter, and sometimes even a whole half, Union competed with most of the teams on its schedule last season. Eventually though, the lack of depth took a toll as it faded in games and struggled through a 2-9 season.
Head coach: Matt Labrum
Entering his ninth season as head coach at his alma mater, where his teams have recorded a 38-49 record over the past eight years. Prior to that he was the head coach at Parowan from 2007 to 2011, where his teams recorded a 17-35 record. He’s a graduate of Southern Utah University.
“I think we would run out of gas. We were playing a lot of the same kids on both sides of the ball, most of them weren’t getting a break,” said Union coach Matt Labrum.
Without enough depth to fill out a JV team, many players who would’ve benefitted playing at a lower level were thrust into varsity duty.
In 2020, Labrum said the depth is a bit better, particularly at the skill positions as the team returns many of last year’s contributors.
Boone Lathem was Union’s top receiver last year with 681 yards and four TDs, but this season he’s taking over at quarterback and the coaching staff is excited about the athleticism he brings to the table.
The biggest area Union hopes to see improvement from a year ago is defensively with nine returning starters. Not only do those players return with a year of experience, but physically they’re all more ready for the rigors of varsity football.
Union Cougars at a glance
Labrum’s thoughts on how his players dealt the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:
“As we’ve been able to come back in the weight room and been able to do those things, it revitalized them, reenergized them to be able to get out. I think some of them were able to understand some things they took for granted and they don’t do that anymore. They have that opportunity to be back but they could lose it real fast if things don’t change, so a lot of them are making the best of what they have.”
Aug. 14 — OGDEN, 7 p.m.
Aug. 21 — at Uintah, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 — at Grand, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4 — at Emery, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 — CARBON, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 — at Juab, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 — MANTI, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — DELTA, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 — AMERICAN LEADERSHIP, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — at North Sanpete, 7 p.m.
Union offensive snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Cameron Shumway
2019 offense: 18.0 ppg (12th in 3A)
- Seven returning starters
- Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
- Trevyn Braithwaite (WR)
- Boone Lathum (WR) — moving QB
- Chandler Culp (WR)
- Ryne Russell (WR/RB)
- Owen Cook (OL)
- Zach Foote (OL)
- Raef Swain (OL)
Offensive newcomers to watch
- Jory Jenkins (WR)
- Imged Alatabi (WR)
- Alec Labrum (WR)
- Tracer Schmitt (RB)
- Lannin Richman (RB)
Labrum’s keys for offensive success in 2020:
“It always start on the line. If our lineman are shore and we can run the ball then it definitely opens up a lot more things for us. We can be pretty dynamic on the outside. I think Boone will be dynamic not only with his arms but with his legs, but it will all come down to protection with the line and being able to execute the run plays.”
Union defensive snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Matt Labrum/Blake Fenn
2019 defense: 34.8 ppg (16th in 3A)
- Nine returning starters
- 4-3 defense
Returning defensive starters
- Trevyn Braithwaite (DB)
- Jory Jenkins (DB)
- Ryne Russell (DB)
- Alec Labrum (DB)
- Imged Alatabi (DB)
- Raef Swain (DL)
- JD Sasser (DL)
- Zack Foote (LB)
- Owen Cook (LB)
Labrum’s keys for offensive success in 2020:
“We’ve struggled to get off the field, and I think the big thing for us is we’ve got to be more physical. We haven’t been as physical as when I first got to Union, so we have to reestablish that physicality. And then we just have to play fast, let the kids go play and be athletes and make plays.”
Coaches preseason Region 14 straw poll
- North Sanpete
Deseret News outlook for 2020
In the two years prior to a 2-9 season in 2019, Union won a respectable five and six games. So was the disappointing 2019 season the anomaly or the sign of a downward trend with a lack of depth within the team? Those answers should come pretty quick this season. The first half of Union’s schedule is much more favorable than the second half, which creates an opportunity to build momentum and confidence heading into the 3A gauntlet over the final five weeks of the regular season.
Felt’s Facts for Union
- All-time record: 272-360 (69 years)
- Region championships: 11 (1951, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1971, 2000 co, 2005 co, 2007 co)
- Playoff appearances: 34
- All-time playoff record: 16-32
- State championships: 2 (1965, 1993)
- State championship record: 2-0
- Most played rivalry: 79 meetings with Uintah dating back to 1951. Union leads 42-36-1.
Last five seasons
- 2019 — 2-9 (0-5 in Region 14 — 3A first round)
- 2018 — 5-6 (3-2 in 3A North — 3A quarterfinals)
- 2017 — 6-5 (3-2 in 3A North — 3A quarterfinals)
- 2016 — 2-8 (1-4 in 3A North — missed playoffs)
- 2015 — 5-6 (3-2 in 3A North — 3A quarterfinals)
Union coaching history
- 2012-current — Matt Labrum (38-49)
- 2008-2011 — Sam Elliott (10-30)
- 2007 — Doug Bills (9-4)
- 2004-2006 — Phil Bertoch (15-14)
- 2001-2003 — Greg Hoagland (11-18)
- 2000 — Merlin Rasmussen (6-4)
- 1990-1999 — Don Busenbark (40-55) *one state title
- 1987-1989 — Paul Maggio (10-16)
- 1983-1986 — Lee Merrett (21-15)
- 1979-1982 — Jay Omer (13-23)
- 1978 — Jerry Dyer (4-5)
- 1976-1977 — Jay Omer (1-16)
- 1974-1975 — Alan Raddon (3-15)
- 1971-1973 — Hal Richardson (13-13-3)
- 1969-1970 — Gale Anderson (10-8)
- 1967-1968 — Unknown (11-7-2)
- 1965-1966 — Jack Hannum (16-3-2) *one state title
- 1963-1964 — Scott Edrington (2-14-1)
- 1962 — Bruce Parry (6-1-1)
- 1958-1961 — Kenneth Benson (5-25-2)
- 1956-1957 — Ted Heath (8-8-1)
- 1954-1955 — Sark Arslanian (11-4)
- 1951-1953 — Eldon Wright (9-13-2)
Deseret News All-State Archives
Check out our archives of Deseret News all-state teams from 1929 to 2019 at Deseret.com.
Union All-State at-a-glance
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
- 2018 — Chase Birchell, WR
- 2018 — Brigg Edwards, OG
- 2018 — Nate Foote, P
- 2017 — Chase Laing, P
- 2017 — Gage Roberts, CB
- 2017 — Jarom Miller, RB
- 2016 — Coleman Miles, OL
- 2015 — Villiami Lutui, QB
- 2015 — Korbyn Bertoch, LB
- 2014 — Nic Smith, RB
- 2014 — Jordan Gurr, OL
- 2014 — Paul Kaufusi, DL
- 2014 — Weston Horrocks, DB
- 2014 — Tye Winterton, K
- 2013 — Nic Smith, WR