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A Return to Their Roots

Greetings from The Booth!

Don’t look now, but the Shenandoah Hornets football team is 2-0 after a 30-21 win this past Saturday at North Carolina Wesleyan. All in all, a great road trip, punctuated by a couple of rib-eyes, a fine hotel, a Saturday morning workout on the treadmill, and a Hornet victory. Of note is the unique perspective we had Saturday as we called the action on the radio. The temporary facility at NCW had no broadcast booth, so under a 2-man tent in the stands (thank you Sydney Anderson!) we called the game surrounded by lots of friendly Shenandoah fans who made the 4-plus hour drive to Rocky Mount. There were some technical challenges, but it was great to be among the crowd celebrating an SU win.

The game itself was a trip back in time as the Hornets racked up 223 rushing yards, and consumed 12 minutes of the 4th quarter clock in wearing down the Bishops’ defense. 132 of those rushing yards were gained by Rashadeen Byrd, Jr., who was a Clydesdale on Saturday. On a warm day, Byrd got better as the game wore on. In the bend, he got his reward, a short TD run on his final carry of the afternoon. An added dimension was the running of freshman QB Steven Hugney, which gave the Wesleyan defense one extra thing to think about.

Eventually, Hugney was spelled by senior signal-caller Zack Mathis, who connected with another senior, Brant butler for the play of the game, a 33-yard strike on third-and-11 that effectively iced the game. And while we’re talking about seniors, mention must be made of defensive end Mason Caldwell, whose 9 tackles and 2 sacks earned him D-3 Team Of The Week honors. The unsung hero was Patrick Ritchie, who booted 3 field goals, the final one giving the Hornets the lead for good. All in all, gutsy team win.

This week it’s on to Hampden-Sydney, as the ODAC season gets underway. The Tigers are 0-2, but in reality, everyone starts 0-0 again, and with one less league game on the slate this year, this is a big game. Starting 0-1 in the ODAC is not insurmountable, but 1-0 is a lot better. The Tigers feature the passing combo of senior quarterback Tanner Bernard to senior receiver Dillon Costello, who will test a Shenandoah secondary that picked off 4 passes last weekend.

I think it’ll be vitally important to jump out to a lead this week on the road. The Hornets have been a resilient team so far, having to come from behind in each of it’s first 2 games. The formula this week will be to get out in front on the scoreboard, run the football, and defensively, make Bernard uncomfortable.

The Hornets have spoiled a few Homecomings and Hall Of Fame Weekends over the years, and I think they’ll do the same this weekend, making our postgame meal at Macados in Farmville that much tastier. Final: Hornets 27 Tigers 23.

Listen to the 12:30 Saturday broadcast on the River 95-3, and until the next visit, GO HORNETS!!!!!!!


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