Ferrum kept their playoff hopes alive Saturday as they defeated the Averett Cougars 42-20 in their third USA South game of the season. While Averett is not looking, record wise, as one of the stronger teams in the conference, they had some definite bright spots. Mainly those were manifested by their quarterback, Cinco Simmons. Simmons was 18-39-2 for 232 yards and one touchdown.
For Ferrum, Tim Reynolds again showed why he is the defending USA South player of the year as he was 15-25-1for 247 yards with one touchdown. Reynolds also ran for 100 yards and two scores. Tae Gilbert also showed large for the Ferrum effort as he ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Ferrum continues to improve on both sides of the ball. Their defense looks much better than it did earlier in the season, but the last two games have not provided the quality of opponent that the first four games did. Nonetheless, I see fundamental improvements, especially on the defensive side of the ball. This will need to continue as Ferrum has to run a gauntlet of sorts over their last four games, starting with the Maryville Scots.
If I had to point out areas that concern me, it is the kick return yardage for Ferrum, and what I would classify as COMPLETELY STUPID, INEXCUSABLE PENALTIES.
Yesterday, Ferrum committed at least two personal fouls, and I believe two more unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. There may have been more, but I can guarantee you two things. 1) Harper will not stand for these, and 2) Maryville does not need any help. If Ferrum is going to win this week, these cannot happen. NOT AT ALL
Ferrum started the year with many question marks, and with a learning curve, larger than I expected. With a solid resolve, Ferrum has progressed, and while their overall record is less than impressive, they stand in a good position in the conference. A win against Maryville will greatly shake up the conference, and put Ferrum just where they need to be. Some will say that this will be an impossible task for Ferrum, but I am of the opinion that Ferrum can make a game of this and can in fact win....but it will take mistake free football.
Conference King Overthrown
I took a 22 mile trip to Christopher Newport last night, and watched Maryville manhandle CNU, coming away with a 30-17 win. The main difference in the game, in my opinion was the Maryville offensive line. To say they they are large does not do the term large justice. Their size was nicely supplemented by their speed as they continuously opened large holes in the Captains defensive line. The Scots gained 292 yards on the ground. Against CNU? 292 yards? This is an impressive team, that gave the Captains fits most of the night. If there were any weaknesses in the Scots, It may be their passing game. Their quarterback was 10 of 20 for 132 yards. He did not have a touchdown pass in the game, nor did he throw an interception. The Scots have the 6th ranked passing game in the conference, but the top rated ground game. They are quite formidable in most all aspects of the game, and whether Ferrum wins or losses this week, it is almost certain that Christopher Newport will not be the conference representative in the playoffs.
Ferrum must have belief and focus everyday this week. They can beat this team, but it will not be easy.