Football team opener was a learning experience
Ben Martin – Sports Writer
The football team lost their first game last Thursday, September 1, to The Shepherd University Rams 48-7. The game was the season and home-opener for the Owls, and it did not end the way they wanted.
Although the game did not go as planned, the team believes there are positives to take away. According to senior quarterback Joe Bernard, the team was well prepared and felt confident going into the game.
“We had a great camp,” said Bernard. “We feel like we have playmakers everywhere.”
In conjunction with being prepared, the team did not give up during the game. In particular, the team improved in the second half according to sophomore running back Diante Wilson, saying that they tried to outscore Shepherd even though they were down.
Along with the team, Bernard felt ready to go on Thursday as well. Bernard stated he felt good about his reads and where to put the ball.
Sophomore running back Diante Wilson caught a touchdown in the third quarter. Wilson’s touchdown capped off a seven-play drive that started at the Southern 22-yard line.
Along with the touchdown on that series, Wilson had three rushes on that drive as well.
Wilson stated that many of his touches last season were handoffs rather than receptions and as a result, the touchdown meant a lot to him.
“I worked hard this offseason on becoming more of a balanced running back,” Wilson said.
Wilson finished the game with 60 yards from scrimmage, 24 receiving yards and 36 rushing yards along with the sole Owls touchdown. He also had an 11-yard rush in the game.
Wilson believes that this game was a good learning experience for the Owls. Throughout the course of the week, the football team worked to take the most they could from the game.
The defense had some bright spots as well. Senior linebacker Robert Nunez and Junior Hasan Dominick ended the game with 12 tackles each. However, the biggest defensive play for the Owls came from the sophomore defensive back Ja’Kai Young.
The pick came late in the first quarter after Shepherd had established a 14-0 lead. Also, it ended a four-play drive in which Shepherd was moving swiftly down the field. The pass that Young intercepted was an endzone pass as well, which prevented another 1st quarter touchdown for the Rams.
“We have put our best foot forward and made corrections we need to make,” Bernard said.
Looking ahead, the Owls take their newfound learning into a match-up against The University of New Haven Chargers.
The cross-town rivals are coming off a seven-point loss to Bowie State, and last year held the top record in the northeast 10 conference.
The Owls and the Chargers matched up once last year, and the Chargers came out on top in that game 38-9.
While the Owls play another tough opponent, they are not afraid of the challenge, Bernard said, “We are full steam ahead and ready to show everyone what we’ve got.”