Friday, September 21, 2018


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Ferrum Drops the Builders 31-20

Before starting on the game and it's highlights, I want to say how happy I was to see such a large contingent of Ferrum supporters at today's game. The crowd size was listed by the Apprentice School as 258. If that was accurate, I would estimate then that 150 were Ferrum fans. This was an excellent effort and will help the team.
Secondly, many thanks to Tracy Holly for putting together an Alumni and Family Programs tailgate before the game. It's a long ride from Ferrum to Newport News, and I so much appreciate events of this nature!

Since I live in Williamsburg, this one was in my back yard so to speak. The weather forecast for today has been showing, most of the week, a day filled with rain. Today however was mostly sunny. Mostly the entire game.........mostly.
Ferrum got on the board first as Johnny White found paydirt off of a Zach Clifford pass. Chase Deaton's extra point gave Ferrum a 7-0 lead. The Builders answered right back as quarterback Terrance Sudberry led the host team down the field in four plays on a drive that culminated with a 63 yard pass to Sapp for a touchdown. The ensuing extra point tied the game at 7.
Ferrum answered after the kickoff with a 10 play drive which ended when Brian Mann scored on a one yard run The Chase Deaton PAT gave Ferrum a 14-7 lead.
After the kickoff, the Builders only needed six plays to find the end zone as Sudberry hit Bryce for a touchdown, and the PAT made it 14-14. The first quarter ended in a tie, with neither team punting.

In the second quarter, Ferrum completed an 11 play, 45 yard drive when Chase Deaton hit a 42 yard field goal to give Ferrum a 17-14 lead.
The Builders came right back down the field, and put together a 7 play drive before being stopped on 4th down where Ferrum took over on downs.
Brian Mann started the next possession, with a 32 yard gain to the NNAS 23 yard line. After a penalty, and an incomplete pass from Clifford, Brian Mann threw a pass that was intercepted at the 2 yard line, giving the Builders the ball back, but with 98 yards to travel.

The Builders ensuing drive would stall, and Ferrum would take over on downs. This possession for Ferrum would end when Zach Clifford hit Nick Pearce on a 9 yard pass for a touchdown. Deaton's XP made the score 24-14 Ferrum leading. The following drive for Apprentice ended in one play as the quarterback was sacked, and the half ended.

The third quarter saw Ferrum attempt to extend its lead when Chase Deaton set up for a 37 yard field goal attempt. It sailed wide left, giving the ball back to Newport News. Ferrum's defense held, and forced the Builders to punt for the first time. Ferrum took possession and put together a 12, play 76 yard drive, ending wit Zach Clifford scoring on a 8 yard run. The extra point made the score 31- 14, and things seemed well in hand for Ferrum.

A six play, seven yard drive is all Newport News could manage as they were forced to punt again. Ferrum would take over with Tyler English under center, and he would end the quarter with a 12 yard run. This drive however would stall, and Ferrum would send out Freshman punter Grayson Harvey for the first time all day. He blasted a 51 yard punt that pinned the Builders back on their own 5 yard line.

At this time, it seemed that Ferrum was cruising to victory......someone forgot to tell Newport News Apprentice. They put together an 11 play 95 yard drive that ended with a Sudberry pass for a 16 yard touchdown. With the extra point missed, the score was now 31=20.

It seemed like the momentum may have shifted, and that the Builders had new life. The ensuing kickoff only enhanced that feeling, as the kick was directed away from Brian Mann, but was not what I would call an on side kick. It was just a short kick away from Mann. Nonetheless, Ferrum did not cover the kick, and Newport News recovered the live ball. Two plays later, Ferrum's Kendall Bell would intercept Sudberry, giving the Panthers the ball back at their own 6 yard line with 6:52 to go in the game.

The mostly sunny game was now starting to grow cloudy quickly, and concern rumbled through the stands of a lightning delay. Four more plays would be run before that delay did eventually happen. The stadium was evacuated for safety, and the fear of another six hour delay like had happened the week before was a real concern. The radar on my phone showed a lot of rain activity in the area, and the prospect of a delay coupled with a five hour bus ride seemed untenable. The game was called, and Ferrum was declared the winner.

Lots of good to take away from this one. First, is Ferrum gets the W. That, in the end is all that matters. Secondly, I think Ferrum diversified the offense, and took some of the weight off of Brian Mann. He still ran for 145 yards, but it seemed that the load was spread around. The heat and humidity likely had something to do with that. Ferrum's defense seemed to start slow, but found its legs, and did a much better job.

So on to Averett. A very good program. This too is a non conference game, but may serve as a good measuring stick for Ferrum's progress.

Go Panthers!


For the first time in my recent memory, Ferrum travels to Newport News Virginia, and will not play CNU. Today Ferrum takes on the Builders of the Newport News Apprentice School. This is a school, that is not a new opponent, but until last year, had not been a recent one.
Last year, Ferrum handled business at home with an efficient 40-20 win. If this was any indicator of how today would go, I would be is not. Last year is over and done and I have a feeling this is a totally different team. Look for NNAS to pass the ball a lot. I anticipate the Ferrum secondary will be busy.

To counter this, Ferrum will need to maintain ball control. Brian Mann will again be the primary go to guy, but the Panthers will also use the passing game to keep their defense off balance. Time of possession will be important, and Ferrum will need to dominate this to win. Weather forecasts call for rain most of the day, which could always make things interesting.

Go Panthers!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ferrum @ Newport News Apprentice School

This Saturday, the Panthers take to the road to visit the Apprentice School. With a new head coach, and coming off of a win at Greensboro, this may not be same Builders team that Ferrum handled with little difficulty last year. Against Greensboro, the Builders had 371 yards rushing, This may prove a challenge for the Panthers, but a challenge they should be able to handle.

Look for Ferrum to give a heavy dose of Brian Mann, but to utilize the passing game more. I expect that the Ferrum offense is far better than that of Greensboro. NNAS is likely going to be better than last year, and although they are playing at home, I look for Ferrum to be too much.

As in most games, I see this one being won on the line of scrimmage. Look for Ferrum's offensive line to continue off of their strong performance last week. Brian Mann will also have a strong game, but expect more offensive diversity. I think there will be more passing, and look for Clifford to again turn it upfield and run it when given the opportunity. Also look for Tyler English to see a bit more playing time than last week.

Ferrum's defense will show improvement this week, and I would expect you will see more pressure on the Builder's quarterback. Look for the Builders to try to pass against a defense that gave up a lot of passing yards last week, but I think this will be futile.

All in all, I anticipate a happy bus ride home for Ferrum.

Ferrum 38
NNAS  12

As for the rest of the ODAC:

CNU @ Hampden-Sydney

W&L @ Sewanee

Averett @ Randolph Macon

Stevenson @ Bridgewater

N.C. Wesleyan @ Shenandoah

Methodist @ Guilford

Monday, September 3, 2018

We Gotta Lot Of Work To Do

**Bloggers note**

This article was started Sunday morning. Sorry for the delay, but the late game start and my second job necessitated the delay in posting.

This is why you never want to open with a conference game. While I know the schedule was set to open with the Wasps, the fact that it was a conference game now leaves Ferrum in a pretty deep hole with a conference loss.
There is not a lot I can say about the game as a whole, but there are some takeaways from watching the live broadcast as much as I could on my phone, and re-watching the entire game since then.

Offensively, there were a few things that stood out. The passing game was not where it needs to be. The two main wide outs had only three catches between them. Chris Baker, who is listed as a running back had twice as many catches. I believe that more use of wide outs going forward will help.

Brian Mann broke his own record for rushing yards in a game. After being held to 55 yards by the Wasps last year, Mann found his stride this year and lit up the E&H defense for 257 yards. The biggest problem was that he never found the end zone.

The biggest surprise on offense was #8, RB turned receiver Chris Baker. Baker had 6 receptions, two for touchdowns.

Lastly, being shut out in the first half left too steep of a hill to climb. I will say things improved dramatically on offense in the second half.

Defensively, Ferrum showed its youth. Lots to work on in this department, but statistically,  it seems that the pass defense needs to be more up to the test. Giving up 284 yards through the air will not get you a lot of W's.

The rush defense had it's issues too containing the Wasps. They gave up almost 5 yards per rush by the Wasps. It seemed to me that Ferrum struggled containing the edge.

Special teams were strong for the most part, but consistently deep kickoffs will help. Field position after the kickoffs made it difficult for the Ferrum defense.

In the end, it is worth noting that Emory and Henry is a much more talented team and probably will finish higher in the conference than projected.

Yes I will say there are things to work on, but the team never gave up, and played hard the entire game. That will serve you well. Stay the course, and follow the coaches gameplan.

On to Newport News......put it behind you.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


This is it! The start of the new season. Football is back, and today it's a new era in the ever evolving history of Ferrum athletics. Today, Ferrum will play it's first contest of any sport as a member of the ODAC against an ODAC opponent. Yes folks, the season opener is a conference game!!
I wish I could be there, but I will be in spirit.
If the last two years are any indication, Ferrum and Emory and Henry are about to strap on the helmets for a slugfest. This one could go down to the wire, so I am hoping the Ferrum fans show up in droves.
Of course Ferrum will have Junior running back Brian Mann to turn to, and they will use him quite often, but expect there to be a good amount of offense through the air. Johnny White has been a stalwart as a receiver, but look for big things out of Nick Pearce this season. Pearce has really good hands, far does not garner all that much attention. That will change as the season progresses. Look for Zach Clifford to to have a big day.

Today's success, and this seasons success will greatly depend on the defense. With Montel Lee and Alveno Matthews gone, the old George Jones song comes to mind, "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes"
The good thing is their seems to be plenty of depth for the Panthers. My concern is the experience factor. If the defense is solid today, Ferrum should make every Panther fan at W.B. Adams stadium happy.

It's opening day, and it's a chance for Ferrum to get it's first ODAC win, and to lead the conference.
Enjoy the day, and enjoy the season.

Go Panthers!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Alumni Tailgate in the 757!

On Saturday September 8th, the Ferrum Panthers head East to Newport News Virginia to take on the Builders from the Newport News Apprentice School. The Ferrum Alumni and Family Programs office will be hosting an alumni tailgate at 11:30 before the 1:00 kickoff.
Call Tracy at the alumni office at 540-365-4216 for more information.

I will post additional details as I get them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Emory and Henry @ Ferrum

Well folks its just about to happen. The start of the 2018 season is upon us as it has happened ever since I began writing this blog, Ferrum will face the Wasps to start things off. It was listening to the 2007 broadcast over the internet....(there was no video then), and a frustrating loss by the Panthers that led to the first blog post. Fast forward to the 2016 and 2017 games, and I would have to say that it has been Emory and Henry that has had to deal with a little frustration. Last years loss had to be pretty painful for the Wasps. At my part time job this past spring, I happened to see a man and a woman with Emory and Henry shirts on. I started a conversation and asked if they went there......The woman said no, his Dad is the football coach. I said Newsome? he said yeah. I said with trepidation and glee at the same time....."I went to Ferrum"! He said "Y'all stole that last one from us" I said "stole"???  "Why in the world did the quarterback not take a knee"? His explanation was mixed messages going through the headsets, where one coach was saying they had to run one more play, and one was saying take a knee. In the end, the play was run and Montel Lee made 'em pay.

The one thing that is for certain is that if you are a Ferrum fan and were at that game, or saw it on the internet you will likely never forget it. But if you were an Emory and Henry fan, player, or coach.....there is no way you will ever forget it.
It will be that year long burning memory that will fuel the Emory and Henry team this year. Don't think they will not have revenge on their mind. They not only want revenge, they want the Crooked Road trophy.  Most of all, they want to give coach Grande his first loss in this series.

Look for this years Wasps team to be pretty solid. They only lost 11 players from last years squad to graduation 6 offensive 4 defensive and 1 special teams player. Their biggest loss will be their quarterback. Expect sophomore QB Hunter Taylor to be the starter. He had some quality playing time his freshman year and will likely get the nod.

Look for Ferrum to have a balanced offensive attack, and look for Brian Mann to be busy. Its worth noting that the Wasps held Mann to 55 yards last year. Make no mistake, Mann will be out for redemption. Also look for QB Zach Clifford to keep the Wasps off balance with his passing game. Expect Johnny White and Nick Pearce to have their number called throughout the day.

To win this game, Ferrum's defense will have to shine. I have my worries as the D line is missing a couple of key figures from last year.......I think all in all, they will be ok. Look for the defense to maintain and contain. They will be fine.

This game could go either way, which means that it could again come down to who has the ball last.

Ferrum  31
E&H     28

As for the rest of the ODAC:

Bold is projected winner-

Randolph Macon @ Johns Hopkins
Shenandoah @ Methodist
Washington and Lee @ Dickinson
Huntingdon @ Guilford
Bridgewater @ Gettysburg
Hampden Sydney @ Averett

New Stadium Policies Announced


New Stadium Policies in Place at Ferrum

New Stadium Policies in Place at Ferrum
FERRUM, Va. -- Ferrum College has announced new policies for home football games played at W.B. Adams Stadium. A new ticket pricing index, as well as policies for bags, food, beverages and coolers have been enacted in time for the fall 2018 season.
Tickets for all home football games are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. Children six years old and under are free of charge. Admission for Ferrum College students is also free of charge with a vaild school ID.
There will be no coolers, backpacks or other bags allowed in the stadium. Outside food and beverages are prohibited.
Pets, including Emotional Support Animals (ESA), are not allowed inside the stadium, with the exception of properly identified service animals.
Anyone with questions should call the Ferrum College Athletic Department at (540) 365-4493.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2018 Predictions

It has been my habit to have had these predictions out before now. In the past they have come out by the end of July, just prior to media day. Media day became far less of an event last year in the USA South as cost of travel for coaches relegated this to more like a conference I understand it.
In the ODAC, I have not seen a mention on the website about the coaches poll, and not until today did I see that that there are predictions of some type. I immediately scrolled away from the article as to not see them before I publish my own.

This will be a bare bones list of where I think the teams will finish. It will not include any comments about each team, and no helmet graphics this time.  Working two jobs and doing a semi remodel on my house has cut into my blogging time......I digress...Here is how I see Ferrum's first year in the ODAC winding up.

1.     Shenandoah

2.     Washington and Lee

3.     Hampden-Sydney

4.     Randolph Macon

5.     Ferrum

6.     Emory and Henry

7.      Guilford

8.      Bridgewater

It will be a tight race in many respects. Very little will separate the first 5 teams. Look for Ferrum to finish no worse than 5th in the conference, and with an unexpected win here of there, could contend for the title.

Shenandoah is an ever improving team, and Washington and Lee is the defending conference champion. Hampden -Sydney seems to be rebounding after a couple of off years.

Is should be a fun year.

Go Panthers!

Anybody Have a Spare Crystal Ball? (Part II)
Defense and Special Teams


Like on the offensive side of the ball, Ferrum will have some holes to fill on defense. A total of 7 of the 16 Seniors from last years squad were on defense. Of those seven, five were defensive linemen. This will present some issues for the coaching staff. Notably, All American Montel Lee, and Franklin County native Al Matthews are gone and leave huge shoes to fill. Others lost on defense include KwaJay Witcher, and C.J. Kaashif. The linebacker corps took a hit too as Tyus Brown, and Kevon McNeil are now alumni.
I see a healthy amount of candidates to fill in from last years roster, but I am concerned that the front line will be inexperienced, and somewhat small. Look for the entire defensive unit to gel quickly as they approach the season opener.
In the last two years, Ferrum's success has been made possible in large part to the solidity of the defense. While I am a bit nervous going into the season, I am quite sure the coaching staff will have them ready.

Special Teams

Look for the Kicking duties to again be handled by Chase Deaton. I am expecting overall a good season from the special teams department. Punt protection, and return yardage will need to be an emphasis this year.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Anybody Have A Spare Crystal Ball?

As we start to see Ferrum fade into the sunset of the USA South and emerge as a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, there will be many new aspects to get use to for the players and the fans. First and foremost, do not be fooled.......the ODAC is overall, a stronger football conference than the USA South. This past season, the USA South faced off against the ODAC seven times only winning twice. Ferrum and Maryville both defeated Emory and Henry. While that in and of itself may not mean much, Ferrum will be looked at as the new kid on the block and in ODAC fans eyes, will have to "prove themselves" worthy of the new membership. Fortunately, I think Ferrum will do that right out of the gate.
Be prepared for larger visiting crowds. (May want to add another section of bleachers on the visitors side) ODAC fans will travel, and will support their school. While they may not have come to Ferrum for a non conference game, they will now. Every team in the conference is from Virginia except for Guilford, but the Quakers are the closest school in the conference to Ferrum. (Greensboro N.C.)
Ferrum fans have to show up too.....both home and away. The home schedule this year is awesome as Ferrum opens the season at home against Emory and Henry in the third edition of the Crooked Road Classic. Ferrum has won the first two games of the named series, but look for the Wasps to be hungry to turn the recent series around after last years loss. Remember, this is a conference game! Fan support is crucial. 

Other home games include Homecoming against Washington and Lee. This is the defending ODAC champion who lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual national champion Mount Union 21-0. North Carolina Wesleyan also played Mt. Union last year.....they lost 58-0. Washington and Lee will be a tough match up. This will be the Generals first trip to Ferrum since the Panthers moved up to a DIII program.
Look for Hampden-Sydney to come to Adams field the following Saturday. To my knowledge this will be the Tigers first trip to Ferrum for a regular season game.

Up and down, the ODAC has talented teams. Besides those already mentioned, Randolph Macon, and Shenandoah have very strong programs. So how will Ferrum stack up?......this is why I need a crystal ball. Its really hard to say, but I want to try to dig a little deeper into the 2018 Panthers.

At a quick glance, I see an offense that, while missing four of eleven starters from last year, has quite a large bit of talent returning. This group of returners is led by rising junior Brian Mann at running back. Mann in his first two seasons set the rushing mark in a season in his freshman year, and followed that up in his sophomore year by breaking his own record. He is quite a talent, and will prove a tough test for any defense in the league.. While Mann has made most of the headlines in the backfield lately, he is not alone back there. 9 other running backs are expected back this season besides Mann.

Look for Quarterback Zach Clifford to again have another strong showing passing as he is slated to have all of the same weapons available to him this year as in 2017. Last season, Clifford posted very strong numbers. In ten games, he threw 249 times, completing 133, while losing twelve to interceptions. That is a 53.4% completion percentage, with a passing yards total of 1858 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Clifford's targets will again include Johnny White,  Ne'Shaun Gill, and Nick Pearce. Dre Davis will also see a good amount of time on the field. Oh and don't forget Brian Mann, he doesn't just run, he will pull a pass down too.
On the ground, Clifford can and will turn it up field, as he kept the ball 63 times last year.

So that leaves the offensive line....
Starting with the Tight End position, Ferrum has little if any experience returning. Both Josh Bare and Marzai Terrell have graduated, and this position starter will likely be determined in fall camp. While it is an important position, Ferrum mainly uses it as a blocking position. Last year, duties were mainly split between Bare and Terrell, and combined, they only hauled in 10 passes, resulting in one touchdown.
On the interior, Look for some holes to be filled. The roster is plump with returning offensive linemen, and a quick scan of recruiting successes leaves me with the impression that while a couple of linemen were lost to graduation, Ferrum is not really rebuilding an O-line, they are just reloading.

Next post:  Defense and Special Teams

Go Panthers!!