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Getting The Job Done
Greetings from The Booth!
Don’t look now, but Shenandoah University Football is 4-1, and 2-1 in the ODAC, after a decisive 52-25 blowout at Guilford this past Saturday in Greensboro. If my broadcast partner Scott Musa is reading this, he will be happy to know that yours truly and my current sidekick DeShon Foxx (Scott is focusing on becoming a new Dad these days) kept a Hornet broadcast travel tradition alive with our usual stop at Mac N Bob’s in Salem on the way to North Carolina, and on the way home we enjoyed some Italian cuisine at Frank’s Pizza And Subs, where the calzone is the size of a starship. In between, the accommodations were first-class at the Sheraton Four Seasons. This play-by-play life is pretty good!
The trip was made all the better with a nice win by the Hornets in what was the classic “trap game.” The Quakers have had their challenges this season, having 2 games canceled due to COVID protocols, and doing the eye-test, SU was clearly the better team. That being said, Shenandoah was coming off an emotional Homecoming win against Bridgewater, and very well could have suffered a letdown.
But they didn’t. In their most prolific offensive output of the year, SU rolled to a 24-0 lead and never looked back. The Hornets piled up nearly 600 yards on the afternoon, and except for a very brief nervous stretch in the third period, dominated from wire-to-wire. Freshman quarterback Steven Hugney continues to impress as he matures, and was named ODAC Offensive Player Of The Week following his 5 TD performance (4 passing, 1 rushing). Rashadeen Byrd showed that he is one of the top backs in the ODAC with a 143-yard rushing day, and Wide Receiver Brandt Butler–oh, nothing. Just 5 catches for 143 yards and 2 scores. To put it simply, the Hornets took a business trip, and took care of business.
This week promises to be a little tougher, as SU heads back in the same direction on I-81 and US 220 to try and spoil the Homecoming Day of Ferrum. The Panthers will be a “tough out” for Shenandoah, and like SU, are 4-1 overall, their only loss to league power Randolph-Macon. Ferrum’s stats aren’t gaudy (they give up 25 points a game, while scoring about 24 per game) and all of their wins have been tight contests. As always, the Panthers have athletes who are capable of having big days, like dual threat quarterback Titus Jones. Jones should be a major focus of the Hornet defense this week.
I would expect nothing less than a very close contest this week in the hinterland of Virginia. The Homecoming atmosphere will be something that SU will have to deal with, and as with any even matchup on paper, turnovers will play a big part in determining a winner on Saturday. The second half of the season gets much tougher for Shenandoah, with W&L and Randolph-Macon, along with D-2 Emory & Henry looming on the schedule. So, Shenandoah cannot afford to take it’s eye off the ball this week, and I don’t think they will. In a tight contest, SU comes out on top 28-24 to go 5-1 and 3-1 and stay in the ODAC hunt.
Air time is 12:30 Saturday with the Winchester Printers Hornet Pre-Game Show. Enjoy the game, and GO HORNETS!