Lack of execution in football’s third phase proves fatal
The team christened its new football facility. Everything was glorious; the crowd, the fervor, the homecoming festivities, the beautiful new complex, basically everything but the final outcome. No time for pity, we still have a conference title to win and we are still very much in the race.Fletcher W. Long, KPGFootball Senior Scout
The new Andy Frye Stadium, though not completely ready for play, was ready enough for the “powers that be” to decide to host Homecoming ’22 in its new digs. The “Colonel Walk” promenaded right by the beautiful clock tower adorning the courtyard outside the impressive venue.
The crowd was loud, numerous, and intense. There was also a sizable contingent who trekked over with the Vikings to lend support to the team from Valhalla.
All told, we would guess the crowd to be in the 4,000 range, but that would be a guess. Whatever this new stadium holds, it was holding it on Saturday, or pretty close.
Everybody sure got their money’s worth. The game literally came down to the very last play in the first overtime.
Centre staked itself to a 17-3 lead before the Vikings found their “sea legs” and started moving the ball, at will, against a defense which seemed back on its heels instead of the attack scheme we’re accustomed to watching. Will McDaniel, peeled off a 67-yard “thing of beauty” for a TD which, when it happened, seemed might be enough to put the Colonels in the winner’s circle.
However, the Vikings were left with enough 4th-quarter clock to come back down the field and knot the score at 24’s, sending the game into overtime. In the first overtime period, the Vikings scored a TD and then converted its PAT to go ahead 31-24. Centre got the football, marched down and scored a TD of its own, but the PAT was blocked, sending Berry home winners on the day, 31-30.
Okay, we lost. I said it.
Now that we have commented on the elephant in the room, we would point out a few things. First of all, we are still very much in the SAA-title hunt. In fact, we sort of hold our destiny in our own hands.
If we win out, we finish 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the SAA. That conference mark, with wins over Trinity at home and BSU on the road, would virtually assure us an NCAA invite, even if we didn’t get the automatic bid. It would also stand a tremendous chance of winning the conference.
Here’s how we figure this to be the case. Berry College is extremely likely to get its second conference loss when it travels to San Antonio this coming weekend to play Trinity. Berry has already lost a nail-biter to BSU.
Not having to make the long and arduous journey to San Antonio and play Trinity is a huge advantage. Should Trinity beat Berry next week but then drop the game to us in Danville (where the long, arduous journey is theirs to make, not ours), and if we beat BSU in Birmingham, we are conference champions.
Now another offensive bright spot from yesterday is how well we were able to run the football on the afternoon. Centre had 50-rushing attempts against Berry College and gained 276-yards rushing while averaging 5.5-yards per rushing attempt.
Sophomore Will McDaniel had himself a tremendous game as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a single game for what will be the first of many times over his career. He also broke free on a 67-yard scamper which, at the time he did it, seemed it might just comprise the winning margin.
We asked McDaniel’s good friend and fraternity brother, Will Long, what he thought about “the other Will’s” run. He told KPGFootball, “It was one of my greatest moments as a Centre football player and all I did was cheer like Hell.”
Nick Osterman gained 90-yards rushing and Keaton Martin gained 36 yards in 6-carries while Dameon Jones scored a TD on the day carrying it in from 7-yards out. When asked about Dameon Jones TD-run, Long said, “With everything physically he’s experienced, that was a huge moment for all of us.”
Osterman threw for 128-yards on the day including a 33-yard toss for a TD which about every player on the field may have touched. I think it ricocheted off of me and I was sitting at the 50-yard line.
Greer Stone caught 3-passes for 54-yards including the 33-yard TD reception which was deflected to him and which he still had the presence of mind to corral. Dylin Huff had another complete game, completing his one throwing attempt, assisting on a tackle, and catching 8-passes on the day. Scotty Brown caught 3-passes, while senior, Sam Murray, caught a pair.
Defensively, Armon Wells led us in tackles again this week with 11-hits. Wells had a TFL. Nick German had 6-hits, while Ollie Hunter had the teams only sack on the day.
Duerell Bard had another strong outing, with 4-hits including a TFL.
Blane Hardin made the most of his limited appearances on the defensive side, coming in and registering a couple of tackles and Nick Perez got himself a start against Berry acquitting himself well on the afternoon.
Joshua White led the back end with 2-passes broken up while Nick Grant picked off the Berry passer at a critical time making a tremendous play of the football to come up with the INT. Joseph Becherer and Parker Guilaume both broke up a pass at big times during the game.
Well, we have to recover and we have to recover quickly because next up for the Colonels is a trip to Conway, Arkansas to play the Hendrix Warriors. Hendrix won its opener over Austin College before losing to Washington-Missouri, Howard Payne, Trinity, and Millsaps on consecutive weekends. The Warriors rebounded and put it on Sewanee, 48-21, Saturday.
They are a dangerous team. They throw the football very well and should cause us some problems checking the passing game.
Hendrix in its 48-21 throttling of Sewanee in Conway, Arkansas gained 530-total yards of offense. The Warriors, and their very fine group of QB’s headed up by Jacob Wood, passed for 415-yards while rushing for 115-yards.
Jacob Wood was 23 for 28 for 346-yards passing with 3-TD’s. As a team, the Warriors were 27 for 35 for 415-yards through the air.
WR, Tajae White (featured photograph) caught 6-passes for 106-receiving yards as 13-different receivers caught passes this past Saturday. This offensive versatility poses its own difficulty.
Defensive Coordinators have always claimed if they could make an opponent one-dimensional, then maybe the defense could slow the train, so to speak. We appear headed toward testing that particular theory.
Saturday, Hendrix was pretty one-dimensional and that dimension was through the air. We may fairly expect them to press that dimension against the Colonels as well.
Hendrix wracked up 28-first downs against the Tigers. Hendrix converted 3 of 9 on 3rd down and were a perfect 1 for 1 on 4th down.
Defensively, the Warriors seem to go as Parker Turley goes. Turley is a 230-pound problem up front for the defenses which have played the Warriors to date. Turley leads to defensive line in both TFL’s and QB-sacks and he has to be accounted for by our front-five down linemen or Saturday may turn out to be another long day for the offense.
KPGFootball’s Analysis: First of all, the Colonels are getting better; they are improving. Berry College is the same school which held the Warhawks from Wisconsin White-Water to 17-points. We can say what we want to say about Berry, and talk about all the close calls it has had of late with Maryville College, but Berry College is still (very much) a SAA heavyweight. Our going toe-to-toe with them, and having them beat for much of the game, makes us also still a “heavyweight” in conference. Owing to that analysis, KPGFootball believes Centre is too much for Hendrix and should win but must take the entire episode seriously because anything can (and often does) happen. If we can get hot, sneak up on BSU in Birmingham and upset Trinity College in Danville; well, then…you know the rest!
This is Coach HB Lyon, reporting for KPGFootball, and we’re JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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