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Greetings from The Booth!
Sometimes, you just get a feeling that things might not go your way. That was the case last Saturday as the Shenandoah Hornets took a trip to Ferrum College in search of a 5-1 start. The Panthers had a Homecoming crowd behind them, and were also 4-1. The winner of this ODAC matchup would be in a good position for the stretch run, and with one fewer conference game this season, this was a big game. With a win, the Hornets would be in prime position to control their own destiny, with games against Randolph-Macon and W&L looming on the schedule.
Sometimes you just get that ominous feeling. Even when SU went on top 13-0, there was that sense that we’d left some points on the table, and should have been ahead by a lot more. Those feelings were confirmed when Ferrum got back into the game and finally took a 14-13 third quarter lead. The game then went back and forth with several lead changes, with the Hornets taking a 23-21 lead with 1:47 left.
That proved to be too much time. The Panthers’ senior quarterback, Titus Jones, played like a senior and drove his team into field goal range (with the help of a killer pass interference call), where kicker Seth Deaton plunged the dagger into the Hornets’ hearts with a 35-yard game winning field goal with 3 seconds left.
Little things (and not so little things) add up in a football game. Settling for field goals and not touchdowns, the half ending with SU on the Ferrum 1-yard line with no points on the drive, a dropped TD pass, 2 key interceptions by a freshman QB who probably doesn’t make those throws next year, and an incompletion instead of running the clock down on the final Hornet drive, and the aforementioned PI call, all contributed to a gut punch and a long drive back to Winchester.
As was the case after the Hornets huge win over Bridgewater, one wonders how Shenandoah will be able to get up for the next contest. The non-conference game with now-D2 Emory & Henry means nothing in terms of ODAC standings, but means everything in terms of the Hornets’ collective psyche. Win or lose, it will be interesting to see what kind of fire the Hornets play with on Saturday. The loss against Ferrum will be tough to recover from.
But knowing the resilience of this group, Shenandoah will be ready to play Saturday when they host the Wasps. E&H is 4-2 and can score points in bunches. The two teams have had some shootouts in the past, but this season the Wasps boast a defense that gives up only 306 yards per game. Getting a “W” at Shentel Saturday will be a tall order for the Hornets, who will need to get up off the canvas and be ready to fight.
Air time Saturday is 12:30 with the Winchester Printers Hornet Pre-Game Show, followed by kickoff at 1. Until then, so long from The Booth, and GO HORNETS!