For all of the extracurricular activities on campus this weekend, it was not out of the realm of possibilities that the main event activity, the football game, may have been somewhat anti climactic. As it turned out, nothing could be further from the truth.
Ferrum, coming into the game, having given up 86 points in two games, and struggling offensively with only 32 points, seemed to find their stride against North Carolina Wesleyan.
This stride that they hit was not all that apparent early on. After Ferrum took a 7-0 lead, the Bishops running back Jaques Alston, had a 60 yard run for a touchdown, and since the extra point was missed, Ferrum lead 7-6. Later in the first quarter, Alston hauled in a 73 yard pass for his second touchdown, and the Bishops were up 13-7. Before you knew it, the Ferrum secondary fell victim to another long pass, and the score was 20-7. There would be two more touchdowns in the half. The first one was when Tim Reynolds called his own number for the second time of the half and scored on a 4 yard run. Jacob Smoak's extra point cut the deficit to 20-14, and I was of the opinion, that Ferrum, if they could go into the half only trailing by 6, they were still in the fight. Knowing that Ferrum had to kickoff to start the second half, I was hoping that at the least, they would only trail by 6 points at the half. This hope vanished quickly as 22 seconds after the Reynolds score, Alston scored again for North Carolina Wesleyan, and gave them a 27-14 halftime lead.
With the Bishops receiving the second half kickoff, and with Alston seeming unstoppable, I was fearful that in short order, Ferrum could be 20 points down.......obviously, Ferrum did not have the same fear. They shut down the Bishops all star back for most of the second half, and it was quite apparent that the momentum was shifting.
At the 10:19 mark of the third quarter, Troy Helton hauled in a 20 yard pass from Tim Reynolds to cut the lead to 27-21. The defense continued their second half renaissance as they repeatedly stifled the Bishops, and ultimately collected 2 points from a Jatavious Adams safety of the Bishops quarterback making the score 27-23.
As the game progressed, Ferrum found themselves in scoring position once again. Tim Reynolds scored his third touchdown of the day, and Ferrum held the lead for the second time during the game, 30-27.
That lead had the home crowd fired up, and it looked like Ferrum had the Bishops running game figured out. On the ensuing possession, Ferrum stopped North Carolina Wesleyan 3 and out, and the Bishops punted. Ferrum this time was also held to a 3 and out possession, and set up to punt. The Bishops set up for the block, and in what seemed like a very slow developing play, it ended up as a block for the Bishops. They took over possession at the Ferrum 14, and 2 plays later, Alston scored for the fourth time, giving the Bishops the lead for good, 34-30.
Ferrum did have another possession, and moved the ball well. The drive stalled at the NCW 24, and with a 4th and 10, Reynolds threw to the end zone to Matthew Kennell. Kennell made a spectacular catch with two defenders on him. Unfortunately, and possibly incorrectly, the official felt Kennell came down out of bounds, and the Bishops took over. From there, they ran out the clock, and Ferrum fell in a hard fought game to 0-3.
This was an interesting game. Ferrum led virtually every statistical category, but came up short. They led in rushing yards, passing yards, and time of possession. In the end, I think they gave up too much in the first half. They did make up for that in the second half, but the closeness of the score serves to magnify the damage that one mistake can make.
There are many positives to take away from this game. In the end, Ferrum played hard, and up to a much higher level on both sides of the ball. They should have a higher degree of confidence after today.
Just want to mention a few players.
Tim Reynolds- 8 of 18 for 163 yards and 1 TD...no Int's. He also ran for three TD's, and was the leading rusher with 109 yards.
Dominique LeSeine had 6 receptions for 119 yards.
Freshman Montel Lee led the Ferrum D with 9 tackles, 5 of which resulted in 14 total yards being lost by NCW.
Freshmen Shy Smith, and Dorian Gonzales each had six tackles, and Smith also had a pass break up.
I think the light switch turned on for Ferrum in this game. It seems as if they are coming together, and with there being an unusual amount of Freshmen starting, this indicates a strong recruiting class, and a brighter future. There was a lot learned today, and while we are about to embark on a tough stretch, I think the Panthers are evolving as a team, and should be proud of their efforts in today's game.