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2021 SU Football Recap: We Didn’t Want It To End

Greetings From The Booth!

Before we get to the main topic, just a reminder that this week (11/15-20) is The River 95-3’s annual Camping For Hunger Food Drive, a week when the Front Royal/Warren County community (and beyond) comes together to help fill up our Camping For Hunger bus and feed the area’s hungry. We send out the challenge to all of you who read this blog post every week to step up and do your part. This year is especially challenging, with food shortages and supply chain issues plaguing all of us, including our neighbors in need. You can find out all about CFH 13 on this very website. Thank you all in advance!

The Shenandoah Hornets wrapped up their 2021 Fall football season last week by upsetting ODAC Champ Washington & Lee 14-6 at Shentel Stadium. With the win, the Hornets finished at 7-3, their best season since 2003, when they were 8-2. I remember well the bittersweet feeling that year when the final gun sounded. It was a season unconsummated by a post-season appearance, even though the Hornets were deemed USA South Co-Champions and the players received rings.

I had much the same feeling Saturday. There was elation after the huge win, but an empty feeling because the season was over. There was no championship, no post-season, but there was a feeling of great accomplishment. Every season is different and memorable in it’s own way, but I will hold the Fall 2021 SU campaign near and dear. It was a season full of heart stopping finishes, resilience, maturity, and a year when the Hornets took that “next step.” That victory over W&L was our championship game.

Before the season began I asked Shenandoah Head Coach Scott Yoder what it would take for the team to get to the next tier, beyond the 5-5 and 6-4 level. He simply said “we have to win the close ones.” And that’s what the Hornets did. They opened with a 28-23 win against Methodist, a game that wasn’t decided until the end, with a Shenandoah red zone stop. Along the way was a week-2 comeback win on the road at NC Wesleyan. Speaking of comeback’s, the Hornet climb from 24-0 down to beat Bridgewater at home was one for the ages. And, in one of the best defensive efforts in program history, who will forget the 9-7 last-second win over D-II Emory & Henry, a team that averaged 41 points a game?

There was heartbreak, too. The one we’d love to have back is the soul-crushing 24-23 loss at Ferrum, which ended on a PI call against the Hornets, followed by a Panther’s field goal with 3 seconds left. The difference between 7-3 and 8-2. SU showed an ability all season to rebound from a tough loss like that. The Hornets never lost 2 in a row all year. That has a lot to do with the 21 seniors and grad students on the team. They were the heart, soul, and backbone of a team that exceeded expectations and hopefully laid the groundwork for 2022 and beyond.

It ended too soon…

Until next time, so long from The Booth, and GO HORNETS!


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