Saturday, October 19, 2019

Ferrum Rolls Over Quakers In ODAC Contest 45-23

Homecoming could not have been sweeter for the alumni, family, friends and fans of Ferrum football last Saturday as the Panthers seemed to find their stride. After losing three straight games, Ferrum was hosting a Guilford team that also had a record of 1-4. Knowing that they had identical records, and remembering that last years game was only a one point difference, I felt like the potential was there for another close game.

In the preceding weeks, Ferrum had not shown a lot of promise in the offensive points column as they were averaging just over 21.75 points per game. If you take out the blowout against Greensboro, Ferrum was averaging just over 10 points per game. While over those same last three games the Ferrum defense was giving up 32 points per game...…..something had to change.

With Brian Mann on the sideline, Ferrum would look for Joe Burris III to fill in. But it was more than Burris that shined on Saturday. Ferrum had many strong performers. Zach Clifford was 16 of 25 for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. In addition to Burris having a strong day (9 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown) the running game was greatly enhanced by Frank Ross (Freshman, Amherst H.S.)
Ross, who had completely been off of my radar, ran for 115 yards and one touchdown. In looking back, Ross has played in all 5 games, but until Saturday, his playing time was fairly spotty.

The surprise of the day for me was Sophomore Wide Receiver Ryan Beidleman (Giles H.S.) who hauled in 3 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. (Giles H.S. has become a sort of pipeline for Ferrum. Mann, Pennington, and now Beidleman…….keep 'em coming.)

This game represented a full football effort for the Panthers. Offensively, Defensively, and Special Teams. Ferrum's defense was exceptionally strong in the first half, only giving up 3 points, and allowing the Panthers to take a 35-3 lead to the locker room at intermission.While the Quakers were more successful in the second half, the final outcome was not in doubt after halftime.
Notably, Brad Green raised his season totals to 9 of 9 in field goals, and 15 of 15 in extra points.

This win was much needed, and showed a definite improvement. If there was momentum gained, the Panthers will need it this weekend as they travel to Harrisonburg to take on the undefeated Bridgewater Eagles.  A Panthers win may keep Ferrum in the conference chase. A loss will likely eliminate their hopes. This will be on paper, as tough an opponent as Ferrum has faced all season. The Eagles are averaging almost 41 points per game, and are only giving up a little over 12 points per game. The interesting caveat is that they do not seem to have faced all that tough of an opponent so far. That's about to change starting today.  The Eagles are the home team, and they will be a tough foe. The game is winnable for Ferrum, but it will take a great effort.

Bridgewater  32

Ferrum 27

Go Panthers!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Ferrum Falls in Lexington
W&L 30 Ferrum 10

Ferrum hit the road to Lexington Va., hoping to try to get a conference win against a strong Washington and Lee team. The Generals came into the contest fresh off of a solid win against Hampden-Sydney, and kept their momentum rolling against Ferrum. After a scoreless first quarter, Ferrum would give up three touchdowns in the second quarter to the Generals, and go into the break down 21-0.
Unfortunately, things did not improve greatly for Ferrum as the offense continued to struggle. With 10:32 left in the third quarter, Ferrum got on the board with a 37 yard field goal by Brad Green. This made the score 21-3, and gave some hope to Ferrum…...the hope was short lived as Washington and Lee, on their next possession, scored on a 32 yards pass play. With a missed extra point, the Panthers trailed 27-3. The Generals would close their scoring out on their next possession with a 31 yard field goal to make it a 30 to 3 game with 32 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.
Ferrum would tack on a touchdown at the 3:38 mark of the 4th quarter as Joe Burris III ran for 13 yards to find the endzone and with the extra point, cut the lead to 30-10. That unfortunately would be the final score.

Things to take a look at...….

Ferrum, since Greensboro,  has played some pretty darn good teams. In the game Saturday, Ferrum lost the time of possession battle by about nine minutes. The Panthers punted 7 times. I had to check to see if that was a was not. The record for most punts in a  game for Ferrum is 12.
Ferrum's third down efficiency was 0 for 11. This is a problem. Ferrum's quarterback, Zach Clifford, who was back under center Saturday completed 50% of his passes for 127 yards. Those are decent numbers, but they have to be stronger against a team like W&L. The running game took a blow as Brian Mann went out with an injury. I am not sure of the extent, but a reliable source indicated that he may be out 2-4 weeks. Look for Joe Burris III to continue to carry the load in Mann's absence.

Defensively, Ferrum is giving up 160 yards per game on the ground, and 192 through the air. If you remove the Greensboro game from these stats, Ferrum is giving up 205 yards per game on the ground, and 201 yards through the air.

So where do we go from here? This week is homecoming, and Guilford comes to Ferrum. The Quakers are 1-4 also, so that, on the surface would indicate that the game could be more evenly matched. Last year, Ferrum lost by the score of 28-27. In this game, 2 extra points were blocked by the Quakers.
It has been a rough start, but with the homecoming crowd, Ferrum could be in a good position to get a win. Before I close, it is important to point out that Ferrum is putting up strong numbers in their kicking fact, perfect numbers. Brad Green is 8 of 8 on field Goals, and 9 of 9 with extra points! Way to go Brad!

Fan support will help Saturday, so try to be there.....I will be there!

Go Panthers!

Ferrum 24

Guilford 21

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Panthers Fight Hard, But Fall Short
Generals Up Next

If there was a surprise, it was the one sidedness of the loss. Ferrum continues to struggle offensively, as the Panthers could only manage 10 offensive points against Randolph Macon. The previous game, they notched 12 points against Averett. Lets make no mistake, both of these losses were against the projected winners of their respective conferences. Randolph Macon, and Averett are both very good teams, and both have a real shot at making the playoffs.

Titus Jones started at quarterback in place of regular starter Zach Clifford. Jones was 8 of 21 for 87 yards in his first career start. he also ran for 35 yards on 8 carries. Brian Mann was held under 100 yards for the second consecutive week. That is a rare occurrence, but there is no doubt, he will be the main focus of all defenses.

As sluggish as the Ferrum offense has appeared, the defense does not seem to be quite on track either. They have given up 35 and 31 points in their last two games. The opponents have thrown for 261 yards and 182 passing yards in the last two games. and the ability to stop the run is questionable as the last two games the Panthers have given up 294 rushing yards.

It is now important to focus on Washington and Lee. Ferrum needs this win to stay in the race. It will not be easy as the Generals are 3-1, coming off a win over Hampden-Sydney. This is another good team, but Ferrum must play a consistently dominating game to come out on top. Look for Mann to have a better game. Not sure who will start at quarterback, but the O line needs to give strong protection. I think Ferrum improves today, but the road win may be just out of reach for the Panthers.

W&L  35
Ferrum 24

Friday, September 27, 2019

Randolph Macon @ Ferrum

For the fist time in my memory, Randolph Macon is coming to Ferrum. (Although I doubt it is the first time, its the first time in a long time.) The Yellow Jackets are the pre season favorite to win the conference, and you can be sure they are looking to avenge last years loss to the Panthers. Randolph Macon (2-1) has its only loss to national power Johns Hopkins, and are coming off of a conference win against Emory and Henry. This is a very good football team, with their other win coming against Averett…...remember them?

Randolph Macon manages all three phases of the game well, averaging 185 yards through the air, and 201 yards on the ground per game. Special teams look strong, but they are only 50% on field goals. Ferrum will be tested, and this will not be an easy game. For Ferrum, the O line must give better protection to the quarterback, and open more holes for Mann. The defense has to strive to pressure the quarterback, get sacks, and interceptions. The potential is there for a Ferrum win, but it will be more difficult to attain than last week.

Randolph Macon 26

Ferrum 20

Ferrum Takes Its Lumps Against Cougars

Last week, I identified two areas that Ferrum needed to be successful in to contend with Averett. First, the Panthers needed to disrupt the Averett quarterback, hopefully affecting the passing game negatively, and second, they needed to produce through the air offensively...…….neither of those goals came to fruition as well as I had hoped. On the surface, Zach Clifford had reasonably good numbers 17 of 34 for 162 yards. 50% completion percentage, but unfortunately no touchdowns. There were two interceptions. As for the running game, Brian Mann was held in check to say the least. 15 carries for 74 yards, no touchdowns. Not your typical day for number 5, but as a team, Ferrum had more rushing yards than the Cougars.

Stopping the passing game seemed to be the Achilles heel for the Panthers. Averett's quarterback Jacob Wright was 16 of 23 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He utilized five receivers. Ferrum had no interceptions.

The Averett defense played a strong game, and the Cougars did what was necessary on both sides of the ball to win. Ferrum has a lot to do to get better, but I believe they will. Its not going to get any easier in the next two weeks. Conference play begins Saturday. Ferrum is at home again to host the Yellow Jackets of Randolph Macon for Fan Appreciation Day. RMC was the pre season favorite to win the conference. After that, Ferrum will travel to Lexington on October 5th to face the Generals of Washington and Lee.

Go Panthers!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Averett @ Ferrum

The Panthers will host the Cougars in the final non conference game of the season. Averett 1-1, comes into the game with a win over Hampden-Sydney, and a 3 point loss to Randolph Macon, That should be enough to tell you that this weeks opponent is nothing to scoff at. Ferrum has had its ups and downs lately against Averett. The Panthers have not come out on top since 2016, and have not won at home against this team since 2013. Here is hoping that changes today.

Look for the passing game for Ferrum to be pivotal today. I think Ferrum will use Mann on routes out of the backfield, and will spread the field to try to open the middle. Averett gave up 370 passing yards to Hampden-Sydney, and 250 yards to Randolph Macon. If the passing game can be successful, it will open up lanes for Mann when he is called on to run.

Averett can throw the ball also, so this ability will definitely test the Panthers secondary. The key to stopping the Averett offense is to try to alter the game of quarterback Jacob Wright. If Ferrum can pressure him, and disrupt his timing, Ferrum may put them in a hole early.

This will not be a Greensboro type game. Averett is picked to win the USA South this season. They are a good football team. Look for this to be a close and exciting game. Panthers need to strike early and often, but need to mainly strike first.

Go Panthers!

Ferrum 34

Averett 30

Ferrum Continues Dominant Trend Over Pride

This past Saturday's game at Greensboro had just about what I expected. A strong performance on both sides of the ball, for Ferrum, and little to write home about for the Pride. Ferrum who won last year 81-0, started the game by posting two quick field goals by Brad Green in the opening quarter. The scoring had just begun, as Roshun Patterson intercepted a Greensboro pass, and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown. with the extra point, Ferrum led 13-0 at the end of the first quarter, Freshman Joe Burris (Kellam H.S., Virginia Beach) scored the first offensive touchdown of the season, as he took a handoff from Zach Clifford 32 yards to the endzone. Green's xp made the score 20-0. Brian Mann added two rushing touchdowns before the half, and Ferrum took a 34-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.

The second half scoring began when Zach Clifford found Freshman Collen Shaw (Appomattox H.S., Appomattox VA) open on a 59 yard pass play. Ferrum added a Frank Ross touchdown to make the score 48-0. The Pride would finally find pay dirt on a 16 yard pass play to make the score 48-7, Freshman Frank Ross (Amherst H.S., Amherst VA) would score his second touchdown of the day on a six yard scamper to end the scoring and make the final 55-7.

The story was really the new faces of Ferrum getting playing time, and their first introduction to college football. While Brian Mann had a really good day to start the season, 16 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and Zach Clifford was 10 of 17 for 179 yards and a touchdown, the game showed that the stable is full. There is talent on the bench, and Ferrum has a lot to look forward to in this season and down the road,

Go Panthers!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Playing Catch Up

There are many things I want to include in the post, that are extremely important as it relates to Panther football. I need to cover projected order of finish for the ODAC, Brian Mann's Senior year, where I see the potential strengths and weaknesses for Ferrum, and of course this weekend's up coming game. All of these will be covered, but I would be remiss if I did not start off with the biggest news from the off season. On Saturday, December 1st, the news spread of the passing of Coach Sam Webb. The father of Ferrum football, Coach Webb was the first football coach at Ferrum College. He coached for two seasons, and started the program with literally nothing but the support and good wishes of the President and athletic director.
I had the opportunity to interview Coach Webb for an article in 2009. You can read the article at the link below:

Kicking Off Ferrum Football

Since that article, I spoke on the phone with Coach Webb on several occasions, and met him at the groundbreaking of the Norton Center. This man was as polite as anyone you could ever meet, and seemed so humble and appreciative of those around him. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to make his acquaintance. Please read the article, he was an amazing man.

This news was followed in about 45 days with word of the death of Ferrum's all time winningest coach, Hank Norton. To say that Coach Norton was a fixture at Ferrum is an understatement. In his 34 seasons at the helm of the football program, Coach Norton was 244-77-11 with four National Championships. The numbers do not do justice to the man as to his impact on the college and his players. There have been many articles written about "Big Daddy" since his passing, so I will not try to re-write what is already available on the web. I will say that there are very few that that will know the success that he enjoyed as a football coach, and there are few football players that will be fortunate enough to play for a man like Hank Norton.  Below are some links to stories about Coach Norton:

Norton Story

Norton Story

ODAC Coaches Poll:

For the first time since writing this blog, I did not post my projected order of finish. This was the result of computer issues, and to rectify this, I will comment briefly on the ODAC Coaches Poll, and how I think Ferrum will finish.

The Coaches Poll (below) has Randolph Macon finishing first, and Ferrum fourth. I think this is a plausible outcome, but I, of course would like to see Ferrum finish higher......and they just might.

Of the top three teams, Ferrum beat two of them last year. Ferrum was the only team to beat the defending conference champions, Randolph Macon.

If Ferrum is to contend, they have to be strong, right out of the gate. While I expect Ferrum to cruise in their first game, they will need to keep the momentum going as the difficulty of opponents, ramps up quickly. I see Ferrum finishing a strong third, but will have to be nearly perfect to do that.

(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Randolph-Macon College (8) 64 pts.
2. Bridgewater College (1) 51 pts.
3. Hampden-Sydney College 46 pts.
4. Ferrum College 44 pts.
5. Washington and Lee University 38 pts.
6. Emory & Henry College 33 pts.
7. Shenandoah University 21 pts.
8. Guilford College 19 pts.
9. Southern Virginia University 8 pts.

 Mann's Senior Season

Running back Brian Mann enters his Senior season with very few Ferrum records that are not already his. Mann has proven to be the coal in the belly of the offensive stove over his first three years, and I look for his numbers to just keep piling up. Some milestone he may reach are: 

5000 yards rushing ( He needs 380 yards) 
6000 yards rushing......very attainable

There are many goals he can shoot for, but Brian is not looking for personal records or recognition, I am sure his main focus is as many team wins as he can help gain. Look for Brian to have another stellar season.

Ferrum's Strengths and Areas For Concern

From my perspective, there are two main areas of concern:

The defensive backfield, and the wide receiver position. 

After loosing Johnny White and Nick Pearce from last years squad, Ferrum must determine who will replace them. There is no shortage of available players. The current roster lists 18 Wide Receivers. I would look for Quentin Wallace, and Daniel Lamb to see lots of action. As for the other 16 receivers, its hard to tell but I am sure there will be many seeing playing time as Ferrum looks to expand the role of Zach Clifford and the passing game.

The defensive back field suffered a lot of attrition after graduation. Defensive backs have three returning Seniors, and five Juniors. This group should develop into a strong unit as the season progresses. 

Overall, Ferrum will be a strong team, and will steadily improve as the season progresses.

Ferrum @ Greensboro

It all starts today as Ferrum opens on the road at Greensboro College. The Greensboro program has not seen a lot of success lately, especially when it comes to playing Ferrum. After last years 81-0 drubbing, look for Greensboro to be fired up and wanting to exact revenge...…..Not gonna happen.  Ferrum will dominate again and I expect starters to be pulled in the second half so that others can get some field time.

Mann and Clifford will have a field day, and I expect the score to again be, extremely lopsided.

Ferrum 71

Greensboro 10

Go Panthers!



Monday, September 2, 2019

A Difficult Off Season

Yes, I'm back, and I know I will be playing a good amount of catch up between now and the 14th. (Ferrum's season opener). Just after the end of the 2018 season, I had a complete hard drive crash on my computer. I kinda just ignored it for a while, but eventually took it to get evaluated and they found there was nothing to do except replace the hard drive and Windows 10. The money they wanted for that was almost equal to a new today, I bit the bullet, and have a brand new computer.

There are a lot of things to discuss over the next couple of weeks. I will do my best to review the major happenings of the off season, and start focusing on the 2019 season, and with this, hopefully getting the blog back on track.

Kickoff is coming, be patient, and stay tuned.

Go Panthers!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

GAMEDAY: Ferrum @ Averett

So here we are. The last game of a season that seems like it just began. For 14 Seniors, this is likely the last time they will put on a football uniform.
 Something they have been doing routinely for many years, will end after today's game.

So why is this game important? It's non conference, it has no bearing on standings, or playoffs, and some would argue that the risk of injury is too great, with so little to gain.
All of that aside, the game is important. It's part of the schedule. It's what Ferrum signed up for, and it is a commitment that needs to be honored. The game needs to be played to complete the season. The game needs to be played to ensure a chance at a winning season without an asterisk. Play the game for Ferrum because this is a chance to end the season with a win. Play it full out. No let up. Play it for those 14 Seniors.

No prediction today..

Just enjoy the game!

Go Panthers!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Just Not Meant To Be...
Eagles Fly Past Ferrum 42-21

After watching the game, I have to say that Ferrum's offensive success has hinged on the offensive line's ability to have success. Today, the success of the offensive line was uncharacteristically absent. Not always absent, but pretty spotty in the second half.
Ferrum could not control the line of scrimmage, on either side of the ball. There were 5 quarterback sacks against Ferrum, and Bridgewater had 263 yards rushing. Just one of those games where nothing went right. Not sure what else to say. Ferrum had very little go their way. Quarterback Zach Clifford had a strong game, but left with an injury, and did not return. Backup QB Titus Jones did throw a touchdown to Nick Pearce, but there was just too much of them, and not enough of us.

Ferrum will close out the season with a trip to Danville next week against a strong Averett team. Averett is 7-2, and will be a tough opponent. Hopefully Ferrum can fix what went wrong today, and end 2018 with a win.