Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Self Inflicted Loss
Panthers Fall to Quakers 28-27

This was a very good game, between two really talented teams. It had the markings, based on what I could tell from statistics, of possibly a high scoring contest. It seemed that the Quakers defense was going to be suspect, but it was not. Both teams featured a strong running game, but in the end, this was a game Ferrum should have won.
Ferrum did many things right, and played a really good game, but in this case, there were too many missed opportunities, Four times, Ferrum could have put points on the board, and came away without any. This in the end was a huge contributor to the defeat.

One big stat that jumps out at me is that Zach Clifford was sacked  5 times! The Quakers QB was not sacked. The pass rush has to improve. Yes there were opportunities, but its time to focus on Washington and Lee. This will be a huge game Can Ferrum still contend for the conference? Yes, but two things have to happen. Ferrum must win more losses, and someone, in addition to Ferrum has to beat Randolph Macon. That will give them a chance. Even then, it still may not be enough. In addition to that, Emory and Henry and Guilford both have to lose one more game.
The climb to a conference championship just got tougher......much tougher......and there are no easy games left on the docket.

Go Panthers!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Due to hurricane Michael, the football game vs. Guilford has been moved to Friday, October 12th at 7p.m.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Ferrum @ Guilford

Other than playing Guilford in a scrimmage the last couple of seasons, I really did not know much about them. Until recently, Guilford was not what I would have considered an upper echelon team of the ODAC. Their records over the last few years are as follows:

2008 - 4-6
2009 - 3-7
2010 - 0-10
2011 - 2-8
2012 - 5-5
2013 - 6-4
2014 - 8-2
2015 - 9-1
2016 - 4-6
2017 - 5-5

2015 was the best year in their recent football history, going 9-1. Its easy to see that their program has really improved, but this year, their offensive production has been unbelievable. Through 4 games, the Quakers are averaging 46 points per game. In two games they scored 61 points, and in their other two games they scored 28 and 34. They are currently 1-3. A fifth game was played vs. Huntingdon but was stopped due to weather. The weather did not clear, and eventually, the game was ruled a no contest. No statistics counted, but at the time the game was stopped, the Quakers had put up 48 points. While this is very impressive, it's important to know that all of this scoring is tarnished by a defense that is giving up 54.8 ppg. This includes a 91-61 loss to FCS opponent Davidson.

Defensively, Guilford is surrendering 240 passing yards per game, and 336 rushing yards per game.
There is no question that the Davidson game skews the numbers to a point, but I think there are still valid conclusions that can be drawn from the Quakers early season games. Overall, it looks to me that their defense is not all that impressive, but they can put up points. They are averaging 553 offensive yards per game. 293 ypg on the ground, and 260 ypg through the air.

The Guilford passing offense is is currently ranked 58th nationally. Ferrum is ranked 143rd. Stats for rushing offense show the Quakers ranked 10th in the nation with Ferrum ranked 11th.
The national rankings for passing defense show Guilford tied for 181st, while Ferrum's pass defense is ranked 87th. Finally Guilford's rushing defense is ranked......well it's hard to say where they are ranked. Currently, Guilford's rushing defense stats are not listed on the NCAA website. Going by the Guilford athletics page however, the Quakers, as I listed earlier, are giving up 336 rushing yards per game. That places them 248th at best in the nation in rushing defense. (Out of 250 teams)

So now that your head is spinning with numbers, what does all that mean? To me, it means, Ferrum will run the ball a lot Thursday. This will help them control time of possession, thus keeping the Guilford offense off of the field. In the end, this game could go either way, but I am thinking the advantage goes to Ferrum as their rushing offense will be superior, and the defense will slow significantly a high powered offense.

Look for Brian Mann to have an excellent game with more records falling.

Ferrum  44

Guilford 27

Other ODAC action for Saturday-

Randolph Macon @ Shenandoah

Emory and Henry @ Washington and Lee

Hampden-Sydney @ Bridgewater

Go Panthers!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Main Mann

I want to try to write an article about Brian Mann, and his college career at Ferrum, but my biggest fear is that I will leave something out. In almost 2 1/2 seasons, to say that Mann had made his mark in the Ferrum record books is a gigantic understatement. This guy has done nothing but methodically grind his way to being the college's all time leading rusher. Let's look at some numbers over the those 2 1/2 years.

Rushing attempts-

2016-  259

2017-  274

2018-  104

Rushing Yards-

2016-  1453

2017-  1556

2018-  749

Average Rushing Yards  per game

2016-  145.3

2017-  155.6

2018-  187.25

Most Rushing Yards in a game

2016-  vs. LaGrange  254

2017-  vs. LaGrange  254

2018-  vs.  Shenandoah  260


2016-  9/73/0

2017-  10/96/0

2018-  3/19/0

What is left for Brian to accomplish? After the Shenandoah game, not only had Brian eclipsed the all time rushing leader record formerly held by Freddie Stoval, he also that day set the most yards rushing in a game (260).....breaking his own record of 258, he set the career touchdown mark of 36 touchdowns since arriving at Ferrum, and he set the all purpose yards mark now, 4716 yards.

While this has been a heck of a ride for Mann, there are likely still things to shoot for. Personally I would like to see a kickoff returned for a touchdown. That has not happened in quite a while. Also, the most touchdowns in a game is attainable, but it would take 7 to break that record. By the way, currently Mann is the second leading rusher in the nation in division III football.

In the end, records are nice, but it's the wins that matter most. I am sure Brian is mainly interested in getting the team victories. I don't get the impression that Mann is particularly stressing over his personal accomplishments, but rather I would guess he is focused on an ODAC championship.
Not Self But Others!

No matter how things turn out this season, it's truly enjoyable watching this young man play. He is a rarity, and it will likely be years before another player of his caliber comes along. It's a great time to be a Ferrum fan, and Brian has one more year left wearing No. 5.

Saturday's Games

Thomas Moore @ Emory and Henry

Hampden - Sydney @ Shenandoah

Guilford @ Randolph Macon

Washington and Lee @ Bridgewater

Go Ferrum!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Mission Accomplished

If there has been a clearer example of a team effort than what Ferrum demonstrated Saturday, I cannot recall it. It was truly hard to gauge where Ferrum was after the Greensboro game, mainly because I just did not see Greensboro as that strong....and they were not. So the 81 points Ferrum hung on them, and the fact that the defense shut them out did not really show me where Ferrum was in their progression. Saturday in Winchester, Ferrum left me with few questions and a big smile. Not just one person stood out, but everyone stood out. First lets look at the list I put forward in the last post.

Control time of possession ✅

Create turnovers and capitalize on them ✅

Secondary has to be omnipresent  ✅

Constant pressure on quarterback  ✅

While Ferrum did not record a sack of the Shenandoah quarterback, the defense gave him trouble all day. He threw two interceptions, and had only 264 yards passing, as opposed to his average of 366 yards per game coming into Saturday. So from those four elements listed above, Ferrum found themselves being able to dictate much of the direction of the game.

The offensive attack was also very impressive as Ferrum's  Zach Clifford was 10 of 18 for 152 yards and two throwing touchdowns. Clifford also ran for a touchdown. Offensively, the spotlight has to shine brightest on Brian Mann. Mann had 38 carries for 260 yards and two touchdowns. He is now the all time leading rusher at Ferrum and set multiple records yesterday. There will be more about Mann's day in a separate post this week. Also, I want to point out the consistent and ever improving play of Chase Deaton. He gets better with every game, and is playing a very important role in the teams success.

Lastly, the coaches had Ferrum as prepared as any team could have been. They had a game plan in place, and it worked to near perfection. The coaches are doing a masterful job.

So this leaves Ferrum 3-1, and 1-1 in the conference. Emory and Henry lost to Hampden-Sydney
so all in all, Ferrum is sitting pretty good right now. Next week is an open week for Ferrum, and this will mean another Saturday without a game. This will allow injuries to heal, and give Ferrum a large window to prepare for a very good Guilford team. There are no "gimmes" on the schedule from here on out. Ferrum will have to keep grinding, but next weekend, you can sit back and watch.

*Reminder Ferrum's next game is at Guilford on Thursday Oct. 11th. 7:00 p.m.

Go Panthers!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Ferrum @ Shenandoah

Saturday, Ferrum travels to Shenandoah to take on the 2-1 Hornets. This game could be the ultimate definition of a barn burner. Ferrum had little trouble with last weeks win, but this week the Panthers will need just as good of a defensive effort. Just a little information about the Shenandoah offense.

Quarterback- Hayden Bauserman

Through three games

2018 Stats-105 completions out of 156 attempts for 1097 passing yards and 15 TD's with 1 Int.

Offense is averaging 51.6 points per game.

The rushing game gives them 157 yards per game.

By Comparison, Ferrum numbers look like this:

Quarterback- Zach Clifford

Through three games

2018 Stats- 41 completions out of 72 attempts for 533 yards and 9 TD's with 1 Int.

Offense is averaging 47 points per game

The rushing game gives Ferrum 271.3 yards per game

Shenandoah is a pass heavy offense. They have a solid offensive attack. Ferrum is no less solid, but seems to rely a bit more on the run game than the Hornets. Nonetheless, both phases of Ferrum's offense are effective

To win this Ferrum must be able to do four things:

Control time of possession- You can't score if you don't have the ball.

The defense must create turnovers. The offense must capitalize on the turnover.

The secondary has to be omnipresent. The have to blanket the Hornet receivers

There must be pressure on the quarterback.....constant pressure

All of these seem like basic fundamentals, but trust me, this team can put up points in a hurry.
As solid as the Ferrum offense has been, I am worried about the availability of Nick Pearce (ankle)
Ferrum can win this game, but they cannot help the Hornets. They will not need it, so penalties are another thing that must be kept to a minimum.

Yes, it's one of those games that may come down to who has the ball last. It will be an exciting game, I just hope we don't need all of those 81 points this week.
Defensively, Shenandoah has only given up 137 yards rushing in three games. Their pass defense has given up 348 yards so far, but opponents have averaged 36.7 points per game. Ferrum is only giving up 21.7 points per game.
It will take a complete game in all phases for a Ferrum win. The win is attainable, and if the defense is as good as I think they are, we could be on the right side of the final score.......otherwise, Ferrum will be 0-2 in the conference.

Ferrum  47

Shenandoah  40

Go Panthers!

In the rest of the ODAC-

Randolph Macon @ Washington and Lee

Bridgewater @ Guilford

Emory and Henry @ Hampden-Sydney

Sunday, September 23, 2018

When is a Win not a Win

I was unable to watch the Greensboro game online....had to work, but I just finished watching a replay this morning. It did not take long to get interested in things other than the game. The band, still in its fledgling stages sounded really good, and shows much promise, The cheerleaders work really hard to bring excitement to the crowd, but can we re visit the necessity for the large bows on their heads...….no offense, just my opinion.  Lastly, on hall of fame weekend some of Ferrum College's finest athletes returned to campus for induction to Ferrum's Hall of Fame. Overall, this was an excellent weekend.....unless you were a fan or player for Greensboro.

There is not a lot to say about an 81-0 shellacking. This score according to many is the most points ever scored by a Ferrum team. In the DIII era yes, but in 1974, Ferrum beat Baltimore CC 83-3. In 1967, Ferrum defeated the Shenandoah Hornets 80-6. After that season, Shenandoah suspended their football program, and did not resume it until 2000. Getting beaten is one thing, and getting the slobber knocked out of you by a better team is another thing. There are teams that routinely hang big numbers on their opponent. Mount Union is one that can run a score up on most any team in D3. They are usually ranked No. 1 in the nation, and this helps them maintain their ranking.
Ferrum is not currently ranked......nor do I foresee them being ranked this year. Maybe, but I am skeptical. Don't get me wrong, Ferrum is improving every game. Zach Clifford is playing lights out, and between Johnny White and Nick Pearce, the passing game is solid. Brian Mann leads a host of capable running backs, and a solid offensive line is getting them the room to run. and the defense.....well yesterday, the numbers speak for themselves. Greensboro had minus 11 yards of offense!

Special teams was really looking strong, as Chase Deaton had probably his best game ever, and Austin Pennington recorded a punt return for a touchdown.
There will be many questions as to why Ferrum kicked the last field goal with such little time left. I would say that while it is a play to be expected in the normal flow of the game, the score made it look more like Ferrum was piling it on a team that was soundly beaten, and far inferior. While I can see why many people will have issues with that field goal, that is a coaches decision....I will defer to them.

So its on to Shenandoah. A really good team that will present a strong challenge for Ferrum. This game represents nearly a must win situation. To go down to 0-2 in the conference will make it tough to contend for a conference title. The secondary, and pass rush have to bring their A game for Ferrum to win. It can be done.

 Go Panthers!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hurricanes and Computers.....Thanks Florence

After writing my last post about Ferrum's win over the Apprentice School, My computer just quit working. Took it to Best Buy to find out that my extended warranty that I purchased, had expired just two months before. Essentially, Windows 10 crashed. While this was extremely frustrating, I was able to re load the program and after a few updates, it seems to be working, almost normally.

I knew I could post to the Fans page on facebook, but the prospect of writing a post for the blog from my phone was not an option. It was a real possibility that I would, for the first time I think, not get a post up for a game. Of course as it turned out, Hurricane Florence came ashore, causing the cancellation of many games,  including Ferrum @ Averett. While this storm wreaked havoc in much of North Carolina, Virginia, for the most part was spared. Manypeople have suffered unimaginable losses, and I feel for them deeply, but for me, Florence if nothing else, gave me a chance to get the computer back up and running.

This week, Ferrum is back home against former conference foe, Greensboro. The Pride (1-1) have a win over Gallaudet, but opened the season with a loss against a respectable Newport News Apprentice squad.

I expect that this week, Ferrum will have little trouble with a Pride team that may not talley another win this season. Look for this to be a tune up for
the resumption of conference play.

It should be a happy home crowd for the hall of fame weekend game.

Ferrum 41
Greensboro 7

As for the rest of the ODAC games, the schedule has been drastically altered since the storm. Some games were played early, others postponed, and others were cancelled. I will forgo predictions this week.

Go Panthers!

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.