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Greetings from The Booth!
Well, the chances are very good that your NCAA bracket is now a smoldering ruin after the opening week of play. I can’t remember ever seeing this many double-digit seeds making their way into the Sweet Sixteen. But, as I’ve said, the cream usually rises to the top in the end, and despite all the bracket-bustin’ upsets last week, we still have 3 number-one seeds left (Baylor, Gonzaga, and Michigan). In what has been a crazy season, you just knew the tournament was going to be crazy, too.
Changing gears, it was good to see the Shenandoah Hornet offense resemble it’s old self, despite a 52-38 football loss to Randolph-Macon last Friday at Shentel. The Hornets, coming off a bye week and a 26-0 loss to Hampden-Sydney, were down 14-0 to the Yellow Jackets and going nowhere fast.
Enter Chris Sonnenberg.
Sometimes a quarterback change is just what the doctor ordered. Nothing against starter Zack Mathis, who certainly has the potential to become a fine QB at SU. He has the physical skill-set. But at this point he is still navigating the learning curve of Stan Hodgin’s high-octane offense. And the Hornets needed something to lift a quiet, albeit limited home crowd.
Sonnenberg, who dazzled us at the tail end of the 2019 season, immediately led the Hornets to a field goal. That was followed by 2 interceptions from a suddenly-inspired Hornet defense, one for a pick-6. The dormant SU running game also came alive, as Rashadeen Byrd broke off TD runs of 51 and 68 yards.
Shenandoah, for the most part, went toe-to-toe with arguably the best team in the ODAC, which bodes well for the immediate future. Only time will tell who will be the starting quarterback when SU plays a full schedule in September. I look for a healthy quarterback competition in the time leading up to the regular 2021 campaign.
Sonnenberg, who could have pouted on the bench the last few weeks while Mathis got the nod, instead was ready when his number was called on Friday, and that speaks volumes. That readiness and leadership was contagious, and completely changed the momentum of the game in favor of the good guys in red.
Sometimes it just takes a spark to light a fire…
Good luck to SU as they head to Bridgewater on Friday, and until the next visit from The Booth, GO HORNETS!