Union preview: Ensley is Union's Mr. Everywhere

Titans plan to play senior all over the field

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



Treve' Ensley went through a series of emotions while on the turf at McKenzie Stadium when Union faced Mountain Viewhis in Week 4 of the 2011 football season.

There was anger, because the pain was so intense.

Union Titans

Coach: Cale Piland

2011 record : 9-3, 3-1 4A GSHL.

Key players: Treve’ Ensley, sr., wr/db; Trent Cowan, sr., wr/db/p; Bryce Evans sr., wr/db; Matt Reeves sr., te/lb; Kevin Grimsted, sr., wr/lb; Nick Henderson, sr., ol/dl; Mason Proudfit, sr., ol/lb; Hanini Buchanan, sr., ol/dl; Nolan Henry, so., qb/db; Brendin Quinn, jr., qb/db; Josh Lee, jr., ol/dl; Connor Wong , jr., ol/dl; Tate Nelson so., ol/lb; Leon Siofele, jr., rb/lb; Micah Merfeld, sr., te/dl.

Season outlook: Hey, remember the Union Titans? With much of the buzz in the league centered around Skyview trying for five league titles in a row and Camas moving from 3A to 4A, some might have forgotten that the Titans had a long playoff run, too. They always figure to be in the hunt. “We expect to challenge for a league title,” Piland said. “That’s where we’re at with this program, our expectations every year.”


Aug. 31 Mountain View

Sept. 7 at Jesuit

Sept. 14 at Peninsula

Sept. 21 Bonney Lake

Sept. 28 at Heritage*

Oct. 5 Battle Ground*

Oct. 12 Camas*

Oct. 19 at Evergreen*

Oct. 26 at Skyview*

  • — 4A GSHL game

Home games played at McKenzie Stadium

There was frustration, because he wanted to stay with his team even though he knew he was going to be taken to the hospital.

And there was even a little euphoria.

"At the same time, I was feeling pretty good because everyone was chanting my name," Ensley said.

Ensley suffered a gruesome, gnarly injury. Those on the field saw the twisted limb and did not need a doctor to diagnose: Dislocated elbow.

"It was probably the worst pain ever," Ensley said.

But what hurt more is it practically ended Ensley's season. Yes, he returned to the field in Week 9 and helped the Titans reach the Class 4A state quarterfinals, but he was not the same player that he was before the injury.

Perhaps the only good thing to come from the incident is it has fueled Ensley to make the most of his senior year.

"I kind of have a chip on my shoulder," said Ensley, noting that he grew up playing against many of the players on the Skyview team that reached the state title game last season.

Ensley said he feels he is on par with them, yet the elbow injury took away his opportunity to showcase his talents.

"I played with them all my life. I want to show I can play with them, compete with the best in the state," Ensley said. "I want to go full throttle this season and stay injury free."

The Union plan this year is to allow for Ensley to do just that.

A receiver who can play the slot or wideout, Ensley also will line up in the backfield at times as a running back.

"He's just so versatile," Union coach Cale Piland said. "There are multiple ways we can use him on offense, depending on the matchups. He's the only guy we're moving around in different spots."

Piland said the plan last year was to get Ensley the ball more as the season progressed.

"Unfortunately, the injury happened," Piland said. "He's had a great offseason. He's doing everything he can to have a great senior year."

Again, that injury just might be the key to Ensley's success this season.

"Being off the field sucks. I was depressed," Ensley said. "I had a ball in my hand all the time. I was helping out the team with whatever I could."

He even returned earlier than expected. At first, he was told his season was finished.

But after talking it over with his mother, Ayana Baker Ensley, they decided to get a brace for the elbow and rehabilitate it in an effort to return to the field.

A week into practice for the 2012 season, Ensley is poised for his breakout year.

"It's pressure, but I like it. I like being that guy," Ensley said. "When there is a need for a play to be made, they're going to me. It gives me an adrenaline rush."

While Ensley acknowledges his personal chip on his shoulder, one could say the entir Union team also has a big grudge.

Going into the season, the buzz around the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League is Skyview's drive for five consecutive league titles. Or Camas moving from the 3A GSHL to the 4A GSHL. If anyone cares, the Titans reached the state quarterfinals last year.

"I know a lot of people expect us to be a rebuilding team," Ensley said. "We have a lot of potential to win league and possibly a lot better than that."

Regardless of the season outcome, Ensley knows he will experience another emotion all year -- his final year with the program.

"I take pride in playing for Union," Ensley said. "We have a history of winning. I'm really proud to say I'm a Union Titan."