Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mann and Defense Take Care of Business
Ferrum Dispatches LaGrange 34-20

Fan appreciation day gave anyone at yesterday's game a discounted ticket price, and better than average seating as students are on fall break. If you were at the game yesterday, you got to see a show. This was a really good game as Ferrum took it to the LaGrange Panthers 34-20.
Offensively, Ferrum was led by sophomore running back Brian Mann. Mann carried the ball 24 times for 254 yards and a school record 5 touchdowns. The 254 yards equaled his single game rushing mark set last year against this same LaGrange team in Georgia.The offense needed a big game, and Mann and Co. came through.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ferrum's secondary, which in my mind was a question mark coming into the season, continued to be very impressive as they added 3 more interceptions to their total, giving them 10 on the year, and with four games left, could set them up to contend with the 2005 Ferrum team which had 18 INT's.

With his performance yesterday, Mann has 795 rushing yards for the season. This time last year, Mann had 825 yards.....a difference of only 30 yards. This is very important as Mann had his worst games last year against N.C. Wesleyan, and Maryville. Well the Bishops are out of the way, and Maryville is not the same team this year, so I look for Mann to end the season strong. I believe that every effort should be made to get him the carries necessary to break his own record of 1453 rushing yards in a season. Next season in the ODAC could be a more difficult path.

So Ferrum did what they needed to do, but Huntingdon did not lose, and Averett did not play. The window is closing quickly as Huntingdon has to lose three of it's next four games for Ferrum to win the conference........not likely to happen. A somewhat more likely scenario is for Ferrum to keep winning, and for Averett to lose two more games, but this too is highly improbable. Averett has N.C. Wesleyan, and Maryville both at home, and finish the season on the road against Brevard (non conference), and Greensboro.
I believe Ferrum can win out, but this will not give them the conference title. They need a miracle at this point, but all they can worry about is what they control. Keep winning Panthers.....I think an 8-2 season sounds pretty good, and I believe you can do it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Best Case Scenario's

As Ferrum emerges from their bye week, they find themselves in fifth place in the conference with a 1-2 conference record. With four more conference games to go, it, as I have said before, is going to be a tall order to win the conference. This post will detail game by game best case scenarios for Ferrum to contend for the title.

Huntingdon now has sole possession of first place as they defeated Averett on Saturday 27-7.

As for the coming week, Ferrum will play LaGrange, and it is a must win for Ferrum. Every game is a must win. Another loss, and the chances of Ferrum coming back are gone. The other games this week are:

Maryville @ Huntingdon- At the beginning of the season, I would have considered this as the conference still may be, but this looks like a win for Huntingdon. Maryville does not seem like the team I expected before the season started. It will not be any easier for the Scotts to win on the road. While I fully expect the Hawks to prevail, it would be huge if they stumbled, and Maryville pulled off the win. A Huntingdon win, will likely all but shut the door on everyone else. A Scotts win is a must for Ferrum. It should be noted, Maryville has the 37th ranked defense in DIII football......but Huntingdon has the 18th ranked offense.........should be a good game.

Averett has a bye this week.

Regarding the visit by the LaGrange Panthers, this is a far better team than I realized. LaGrange's Connor Blair is the conference's leading quarterback, and he passed for 500 yards against North Carolina Wesleyan. Ferrum's defense is strong.....but the LaGrange offense is ranked 46th nationally. Ferrum's defense ranks 19th nationally. The pass defense for Ferrum ranks 17th.....This should be a really good game.

Oct. 21st

Ferrum travels to Non Conference foe Brevard. This should be another win for Ferrum, but there is still little known about this team. I expect Ferrum to come home with the win, but this is not a given.

North Carolina Wesleyan @ Averett

I see this as another chance to hang a loss on the Cougars, but in reality, I don't think it will happen. I see Averett as more of a well rounded team, but who knows.....anything can happen. For Ferrum's chances to still remain alive in the conference race, I say Go Bishops!

Huntingdon has their bye week this week.

If there is still a race after the next two weeks, it will mean that Ferrum has not lost, and Huntingdon and Averett must have lost.

What it boils down to is Ferrum cannot lose, Averett has to lose twice more, and Huntingdon has to lose three times.....This will not be easy.

I will update "best case scenario's" in a couple of weeks, if necessary.

GAMEDAY:LaGrange @ Ferrum

Ferrum returns home today after  their bye week. Today the opponent, LaGrange, sits at 3-3 overall, and 2-1 in the conference, with conference wins over Methodist and North Carolina Wesleyan, and their only conference loss coming against Averett.
This is a strong team that has been flying somewhat under the radar. Currently, the LaGrange Panthers sit in 3rd place behind Averett, and ahead of fourth place Maryville.
Their strength is their passing game. Quarterback Connor Blair is averaging 316 yards per game, hanging 500 yards through the air on the Bishops last week.

The Ferrum Panthers will have their hands full, especially in the secondary, but the pressure may really be on the offense. Ferrum will have to focus again on ball control, to keep the ball out of the hands of the LaGrange offense. This could be a high scoring game, but mistakes may make the difference. Penalties and turnovers could work against which ever team suffers the most of them. I like Ferrum's chances at home. As for penalties, this has not been a real negative, but I think Ferrum's turnovers could be an issue for LaGrange's quarterback as Ferrum's secondary has been coming up with quite a few interceptions lately, with 7 on the season. Look for Montel Lee and Co. to really pressure Blair.

This could be a really good game, and should be a huge home win for Ferrum.

Go Ferrum!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Week 7 Predictions

For last week, I was 3 of 4, missing only the LaGrange win over NC Wesleyan. I am now 27-8 for the season. This week, Averett has a bye, so now we need to hope for a Huntingdon loss. The Hawks will host Maryville, and while I thought the Scots would have been more competitive, they have a very capable football team, and a strong defense. This will likely play out as a Huntingdon win, but an upset is not out of the realm of possibilities.

Huntingdon 27

Maryville 23

Ferrum hosts LaGrange, so the final battle of the conference Panthers will be held at Adams stadium on Saturday. For Ferrum this, like all games will be a must win........and this will not be an easy game. Look for LaGrange to test the pass defense of Ferrum throughout the day. Connor Blair the Huntingdon quarterback leads the conference in passing, and put up 500 passing yards against the Battling Bishops.
Home field advantage plus the way the Ferrum defense is playing will be enough to take Ferrum to 4-2.

Ferrum 34
LaGrange 28

The other two games pit Brevard at Methodist, and Greensboro at N.C. Wesleyan.....Look for the Monarchs and The Battling Bishops to prevail.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Week 6 Predictions

With Ferrum and Maryville resting during their bye week, there are still important games being played. Last week, I was 4-0. That is a rarity indeed. I am 24 -7 for the first half of the season.

For this week, the most important game will no doubt be the Averett @ Huntingdon game. This pits the two teams that are unbeaten in conference play. While it will be a difficult game to pick, as long as one of them loses, and one will, Ferrum will slightly benefit. Here is this weeks picks!

Averett @ Huntingdon

Methodist @ Greensboro

NC Wesleyan @ LaGrange

Virginia-Lynchburg @ Brevard

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ferrum Stops N.C. Wesleyan 17-7

After three straight home games, Ferrum took to the road, and traveled to Rocky Mount N.C. to take on North Carolina Wesleyan. This was not going to be an easy game, but a win was necessary to have any chance to stay in the conference race. While the odds are long, mathematically, Ferrum is still in the hunt......barely.
To secure the win, Ferrum had to play lights out defense, and needed to control the ball on offense....and that is exactly what they did. Overall, this was a fairly even contest, but the difference between this week and last week was Ferrum exercised more of a ball control approach. Some of the stats from Saturday's win were:

First Downs:

FC   21
NCW  13

Net Passing Yards:

FC 136
NCW 143

Net Rushing Yards:

FC  210
NCW  129

Time of Poss.

FC 34:38
NCW  25:22

One other important stat was Ferrum's defense had four interceptions yesterday. Last season, Ferrum's defense had seven interceptions for the season. By the end of yesterday's contest, Ferrum had equaled that mark, and we have half of a season to go.

This week, Ferrum has their scheduled bye. A week to rest, recuperate, and prepare for their next opponent LaGrange. By the way, in case you missed it, LaGrange gave Averett all they wanted before losing 27-24. LaGrange has been a sleeper so far, and I had not paid much attention to them. Looks like the Ferrum Panthers had better be ready when the LaGrange Panthers come to W.B.Adams stadium on Oct. 14th.

So what about the conference race? Well, Ferrum can only do two things that could get them back in the hunt.....winning and hoping. It is mathematically still possible for Ferrum to win the conference, but the chances are as thin as Barney Fife. What will have to happen? First and foremost, Ferrum has to win out. They cannot lose another game. If they did that, they would finish the season at 8-2. Even that alone will not get them into the playoffs. In addition to that, Averett will have to lose three conference games. If LaGrange could have prevailed yesterday, it would have helped, but there is still a chance it could happen. The next three games for Averett will tell the tale. Their next three games are:

@ Huntingdon
vs. NC Wesleyan
vs. Maryville

They then close the season with two road games

@ Brevard ( non conference game)
@ Greensboro

If the improbable happens and Ferrum wins out, and Averett loses three of their remaining conference games, don't forget about Huntingdon. They also will have to have three conference losses. Their remaining schedule looks like this.

vs. Averett
vs. Maryville
@ Greensboro
vs. Methodist
@ LaGrange

I don't see Huntingdon losing three more games, and even if they did, one would likely be to Averett. If that happened, where would Averett find their third loss? It would have to come from Greensboro, and well that is about as likely as hitting a hole in one, on a par 5 at night, blindfolded, from the blue tees.

My guess is that the Averett @ Huntingdon game will essentially determine the conference champion. None the less, anything is possible....Ferrum just has to keep winning.

Go Ferrum!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

GAMEDAY: Ferrum @ North Carolina Wesleyan

While this game pits Ferrum against another quality team, this is a winnable game. The Ferrum defense is still playing very strong, and while Ferrum is putting up solid offensive numbers, they need to try to be more ball control oriented, and less big play oriented. This will keep the defense off the field longer, and the ball out of the Bishops hands.
This will not be an easy game, but look for the hungry Panthers to come out on top, and to right the ship that has listed the last couple of weeks.
A win today will put Ferrum at 3-2, and give them their first conference win......this is a really big game.

Go Panthers!

Week 5 Predictions

Ferrum @ N.C. Wesleyan

After last week, the Panthers need to refocus their energy and attitude to try to bring home a much needed win.
Once again however, the opponent is another tough one. The Battling Bishops come into the contest at 1-3 overall, and 1-1 in the USA South. The two conference contests were against Huntingdon, and Maryville.....the two top teams in the pre season coaches poll. The Bishops lost to Huntingdon 41-30, but the beat the Scotts 35-25.
This is a good team.....very good, but beatable. Ferrum, in my opinion is better than their record, and I believe is primed for a win. Look for the Panthers to put one in the W column.

Ferrum 34
NCW  31

The rest of the conference schedule:

Greensboro @ Maryville

Huntingdon @ Brevard

LaGrange @ Averett

Methodist (BYE)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Panthers Lose Close Contest to Hawks 31-28

Under a perfect sky, and a nice size homecoming crowd, Ferrum went toe to toe with the Huntingdon Hawks. This was a game that could and did come down to the wire, but unfortunately, Huntingdon ended up on top. Some will say Ferrum got a bad call on the onside kick toward the end of the game....more on that later.
What I saw boiled down to a ball control offense of Huntingdon vs. an offense that was more dependent on big plays to score or set up the score. Ferrum's first touchdown came after a Brian Mann 83 yard carry to the Huntingdon 5. Ferrum's second touchdown was on a 51 yard completion to Johnny White. The third score came on a 53 yard pass and run to Nick Pearce, and the final touchdown came after a hook and ladder play.....a 23 yard pass to Johnny White, and a pitch to Dre Davis who picked up another 24 yards. Some will ask why is this important? A touchdown is a touchdown, but one thing is for sure. The other team cannot score a touchdown if they don't have the ball. My point is ball control equates to time of possession and Huntingdon won the time of possession 34.18 to 20:25 (Not sure these numbers add up, but this is how it is reflected in the stats.....thinking the TOP in the third quarter may be inaccurate) At any rate, I am quite sure Ferrum lost the time of possession battle.
On the other side of the ball, a defense that had been very solid in it's first three games was up against a tougher opponent Saturday. It was again a strong effort, and they made life difficult for Huntingdon, but it seemed that they were on the field a lot.  While there was another defensive interception, the Hawks still gained 201 yards through the air, and picked up  three passing touchdowns.
Overall, it was as if Ferrum would catch up, but could never pass Huntingdon. The Panthers are a strong team, and I see a huge improvement over last year, but the rest of the season will have to be one game at a time.

Now as for the "illegal touching" call on the onside kick. I was standing at the top of the bleachers just about even with the 45 where the ball had to travel to be a legal kick. As the play progressed, I initially thought the ball was touched. I knew it was going to be close, and with all of the initial excitement and cheering, I was nervous to say the least. I knew Ferrum recovered the kick, but I saw a Ferrum players hand (Johnny White)appear to reach out before it had travelled 10 yards. I could not be sure if he did or did not touch it, but I was hoping that somehow, Ferrum would not be found in violation......this was not to be. Huntingdon took over possession and ran out the clock.
I have looked at the replay from all angles on the replay, and I paid attention to two things. Was it evident that White's hand did or did not touch the ball? To me, it appears he does not touch the ball.
Secondly, did the motion of the ball appear to change after it went past Whites hand? To me I thought it changed. So I was conflicted after watching the video. In my opinion, there is virtually no way, in a situation like that to expect a consistent rotation on such an odd shaped ball. In my opinion, Ferrum legally recovered the kick, but it was a very close call situation. It was a tough loss, but unfortunately, it is still a loss.
Hang in there Ferrum, more wins are coming.

Friday, September 22, 2017

GAMEDAY: Huntingdon @ Ferrum

Homecoming 2017, and Ferrum finds itself with a big game for the home fans. This week the Panthers host the Huntingdon Hawks, and not only is it a big game as far as the conference standings go, it will be a tough game..........but it will be tough for both teams. These two teams are two of the best in the conference, and both will want the win, but who will want it more?
After the loss to Averett last week, Ferrum must win.......not just want to win, they MUST win
Huntingdon has a strong running game, but Ferrum has an excellent defense against the run. So far, Ferrum has not given up a rushing touchdown. Last week, Averett could not manage 100 total yards of offense. So there is no question that the Ferrum defense is solid. There is also no question, that Huntingdon can put up strong offensive numbers. Through three games, they are averaging 217 yards on the ground, and almost 300 yards through the air.
Their defense is suspect. They are allowing a total of almost 500 yards per game. (204 ypg rushing, and 294 ypg passing) They are allowing just over 35 ppg.
Ferrum is averaging 97 ypg on the ground, and 230 ypg through the air.
Opponents are averaging just 96 rushing yards against Ferrum, and 115 yards passing against the Panthers. The Ferrum defense is only giving up just over 15 points per game.

This is a winnable game, and it must happen.......if your at the game Saturday, yell loud!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Week 4: Predictions

Last week I was 4-1, giving me an overall record of 17-6

Huntingdon @ Ferrum

It's homecoming at Ferrum, and the Panthers host the defending conference champions the Huntingdon Hawks. Both teams come into Saturday at 2-1, and for each, it will be both's toughest conference test yet.
The number one conference offense...Huntingdon, vs. the number one conference defense. This could be a barn burner for sure, but it will take an effort of excellence for Ferrum to end up on top. Get ready for a really good game.

Huntingdon  26

Ferrum  20

Here is the rest of Saturday's games:

Brevard @ LaGrange

Maryville @ North Carolina Wesleyan

Methodist @ Averett

Monday, September 18, 2017

Your Seat Is Waiting For You

This Saturday, Ferrum will host its third consecutive home game as defending conference champion Huntingdon comes to W.B. Adams Stadium. It;s homecoming and family day this weekend, and Ferrum must regroup after the disheartening loss to Averett . While this loss hurt, especially as well as the team played, Ferrum will need to reach down deep, and pull it together, because, Huntingdon is a stronger team than Averett.
So what will it take for the Panthers to get a win? It will take total focus and excellent execution in ALL PHASES OF THE GAME.

Is this one Ferrum can win? Absolutely! This however will not be easy, and if there is anything that could help the Panthers to an upset, it will be a loud, and large home crowd. You need to be at the game. Your attendance is a must, and this is a must win, so try to get to  the game........The Panthers need to hear your support!