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Hornet Football Preview-Game 1

1 September 2017 Views From The Booth Sports


Greetings from the Booth!

August is in the books, the Labor weekend is here, and the Booth will finally be manned Saturday night as I begin my 18th season as play-by-play voice of Shenandoah University football.  As we make our way through the 2017 season, these blog posts will concentrate on game recaps, previews, and thoughts about this edition of Hornet football.

I have themed this season as “2017: Unfinished Business.” The Hornets in 2016 had their most successful campaign in the (Head Coach) Scott Yoder era. Shenandoah ran through the ODAC conference with a 4-0 October, and with 2 weeks left in the season was one of 3 teams tied for the conference lead.  Alas, losses in the final 2 games of the season signaled midnight for Cinderella.  For the players returning this year, the bar has been set higher this year after breathing the rarefied air of first place. Here’s how the Hornets shape up this season, unit-by-unit:

Offense:  Under the guidance of  “The Mad Scientist”, Offensive Coordinator Stan Hodgin, SU scored at least 33 points eight times in 2016, and 9 starters return from that unit. Local product Hayden Bauserman returns at QB and has familiar skill players around him like receivers Leonard Scott and Michael Ashwell, and running backs Jalen Hudson and Mario Wisdom. Bauserman, from Woodstock Central, already holds all the major SU passing records, and is poised for a huge Junior season. This will be a fun unit to watch!

Defense:  The D-line is the anchor of this unit, which will also be bolstered by a corps of young linebackers who gained valuable experience last year.  In the secondary, Weldon Gilchrist will be a “lock down” cornerback for a unit that will need to get turnovers. In the high-scoring ODAC, you can’t stop everyone all the time, so the Hornet “D” will need stops at key points in their games. As is typical in the ODAC, look for scores like 35-31.

Special Teams: As Coach Yoder says, “don’t go for a hot dog” when special teams take the field.  The Hornet special teams in the Yoder regime have not been shy about punt fakes, onside kicks, things that give them an extra possession during the course of a game. In addition, punter Christian Arias has been a vital weapon in lengthening the field for the opposition.  Expect the unexpected from the SU special teams!

Intangibles: The preseason ODAC Coaches Poll had Shenandoah ranked dead-last among the 7 teams, and this is not sitting well with Hornet players and coaches. It has become bulletin board material, and should provide extra motivation for a team that accomplished great things in 2016, but appears to have been disrespected by the rest of the conference.  Don’t underestimate the value of a chip on the shoulder…

This Week’s Opponent:  The Hornets open again with Gallaudet University  from Washington, DC.  SU has won 5 of 6 meetings in the series, and has outscored the Bison 114-12 in the last 3 meetings after being upset by GU in 2013. Last year the Hornets had their way with Gallaudet in a 43-6 rout in the Nation’s Capital. The Bison will run an option-style offense, which means that SU will need to play assignment-style defense. Gallaudet may be outmanned, but no one plays harder from snap-to-whistle.

Prediction: The Hornets play a tough schedule this season. In addition to the grueling ODAC slate, SU will play Hobart and NC Wesleyan (a team that soundly defeated the Hornets in 2016).  So it’s important to get out of the gate with a 1-0 start at home on Saturday night.  On what could be a wet night at Shentel, the Hornets will get the job done and be able to substitute liberally. Final: Shenandoah 40, Gallaudet 12.

That’s how I see it. Join us for the call starting at 6:30 with the Hornet Pre-Game Show on The River 95-3/WZRV.  That’s it from the Booth! Have a great Labor Day, and until next time…

GO HORNETS!

RW

Game Preview Conversation with Coach Yoder:

 

Player of the Week: Michael Ashwell

As a junior: named first team All-ODAC after leading the Hornets in receptions and reception yards… earned second team All-State honors from both VaSID and the Roanoke Times… named to the ODAC All-Sportsmanship team…

As a sophomore: played in all 10 games… had 29 catches for 324 yards and two TDs… tied a school record for receptions in a game with 12 versus Guilford in week six… 

As a freshman: Played in one game and had one tackle…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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