Sunday, October 9, 2011

Panthers share Conference lead
Defeat Bishops 21-10

On a perfect day for football, Ferrum defeated the Bishops of North Carolina Wesleyan, 21-10. This win was one that most people did not see coming. Ferrum was predicted (in the coaches poll) to finish third in the conference behind The Bishops and Christopher Newport. Atomic football ( had this game as a 27-22 loss for the Panthers with better than a 66% chance of NCW winning. Even the announcers of the CNU-Shenandoah game called it a  "surprise in Rocky Mount " I however, did predict the Panther win. In my pre season predictions, I had Ferrum finishing at 8-2 in second place in the conference, ahead of NCW. Ironically, if they do indeed finish 8-2, they will win the conference.

Mayo on the Move Against the Bishops

It did not start all that well for Ferrum as North Carolina Wesleyan took the opening kickoff and drove down the field (with the help of a questionable pass interference call) scoring with just over three minuets gone off the clock. The drive was impressive, and for me, I was somewhat concerned that it happened so quickly, especially as the defense had performed so well recently.
Ferrum's first offensive possession lasted just six plays, and the Panthers were forced to punt. On their next possession, Ferrum still looked a little shaky on defense as NCW gained three first downs, but eventually punted, ending the drive. Ferrum's second drive of the day seemed to show more promise, but did not yield points. They ended up turning the ball over on downs, and once again it was up to the defense to contain the Bishops attack.This possession saw the first quarter end, and did not yield anymore points for the Bishops. As the second quarter began, and this possession continued, Ferrum's defense again came up big, forcing a punting situation. Kevin Quicker's punt was a long but low flying effort. It was what would be termed as "returnable", and 78 yards later, Marcus Mayo showed everyone why. Mayo, with a couple of moves, left the punt coverage team in the dust and took the ball to the end zone. With a Scott Puschell extra point, the game was tied at 7. The half would end with the score tied.
Ferrum received the ball to open the third quarter, and seemed to have the offense clicking. They moved the ball from their own 33, to the Bishops 21, when the drive stalled. A Scott Puschell field goal would put the Panthers on top 10-7, but the play ended up as a fake, and the holder Tim Reynolds threw a pass to the right corner of the end zone that fell to the ground incomplete.
The next possession for the Bishops seemed to have renewed vigor, and it was as if the momentum has somewhat shifted. The Bishops drove down field, and with 5:50 left in the third quarter, Quicker hit a 29 yard field goal to put the Bishops up 10-7.
Ferrum would answer emphatically as their offense drove down the field in 8 plays. Dontavious Gilbert capped the drive with an 11 yard touchdown run, and put the Panthers up for good, 14-10. The quarter would end, with Ferrum holding the ball and the lead. The drive that ended the third quarter, continued in the fourth for the Panthers, and this would be where on a 21 yard touchdown pass to Makaya Jackson, the Panthers would basically claim victory. All that was left was a Scott Puschell extra point, and for the defense to shut down the Bishops....and they did.

As I looked back over the stats, and recalled yesterdays game, I was quite surprised at the total offensive yards for Ferrum. It was a slow, yet methodical attack that piled up 331 offensive yards. 246 were on the ground, with 85 yards coming through the air. A very consistent effort on both sides of the ball. This ends the first half of the season, and along with that, most of the travel for the Panthers. They do have a very important game in Winchester against Shenandoah, but every other game is at W.B. Adams field.

Two streaks end.........

It has not been since 2005 that Ferrum had defeated North Carolina Wesleyan. That year, the Panthers, also in Rocky Mount, defeated the Bishops 63-28. Yesterday ended a five year losing streak to the Bishops.

On a personal note a streak of another kind ended also. I knew it had been a long time since I had seen Ferrum win in person, but in going back and looking at previous schedules, I did not realize just how long it had been. Living in Williamsburg, it is pretty easy to get to the game when Ferrum visits Christopher Newport. Other games have not been so easy to get to. In 2005, I traveled to Ferrum to see the 9-0 Panthers take on the Captains, only to see them lose, 44-7. The next week, I saw them fall in Wesley Delaware in the first round of the Division III playoffs. In 2006, I again saw them fall to the Captains. In 2007, I did not see a game in person, but in 2008, I was again at Pomoco stadium at CNU and saw the Panthers fall,13-10.
In 2009, I traveled to Ferrum to again watch the Panthers play the Captains. This was a much better game, but again it was a loss. Last year, I saw three Ferrum games. Emory and Henry, North Carolina Wesleyan, and CNU....all losses. and for this year, I had been to the Hampden-Sydney game. Yesterday I wondered if I maybe should stay home and listen to the game on the internet. (I seem to experience more wins that way)\ I am glad I went. I saw a team. Yeah I know, I really saw two teams, but in Ferrum I saw a group of young men that have really been forged into a team. Very vocal, very supportive of each other, and very focused. Out there to play hard, with not only the skills necessary to win, but a strong visible sportsmanship on the field. Yes I saw a very cohesive unit, but more importantly, I saw Ferrum win.....It was the first time since 2001 when I saw them beat Shenandoah 35-7.

Tyler Brubaker skys for reception at North Carolina Wesleyan
So now Ferrum is tied for first place with the Captains of Christopher Newport. I watched most of their game with Shenandoah on the internet. Both teams are capable, and both teams can put up points. Ferrum still has both of these teams on the schedule. While these games will be important, they are a few weeks away. Ferrum is in a great position. They are in as good a place in the conference standings as they can be, and are playing their next two games at home.....Methodist and Greensboro are the next two opponents for Ferrum, and I will be at the Greensboro game. How about 2 in a row?

Go Panthers!

1 comment:

  1. Ferrum played a hard game. Your right about getting off slow, but at the end we came away with a very big win. I did watched CNU and Shenandoah. With Shenandoah coming back in the 4th with CNU up by 20 and winning in OT. What a game that was. Shame on Shenadoah for not passing from the start. The pathers have a few weeks to get to them. So Pathers keep playing heads up football and play hard.