Hornets look to keep momentum rolling

By Brad Fauber

WINCHESTER — Shenandoah University is coming off arguably its most dominating team effort under head coach Scott Yoder in a win over Gallaudet in last weekend’s season opener.

The Hornets are now looking to win back-to-back games in a season for the first time since 2011 when Frostburg State comes to Winchester for tonight’s 7 p.m. contest.

“I think this is the next test,” Yoder said Wednesday. “Every week’s a good opportunity for us and this is the biggest game on our schedule because it’s the next game. Our guys are excited to play at home and we’ve been talking about consistency. We’ve been talking about preparing. We out-prepared a team and we outplayed them. That’s what happened Sunday. We need to do that again.”

Tonight will mark the first-ever meeting on the football field between the two schools, and Shenandoah defensive end Ian Griffin said Frostburg State is in a situation similar to what the Hornets faced a season ago. The Bobcats were 1-9 last season and have welcomed in new head coach DeLane Fitzgerald this fall.

Frostburg State picked up a 24-19 win over Geneva in Fitzgerald’s debut last Saturday.

“They’ve already equaled their win total from last year, so whatever he’s telling them they’re believing,” Yoder said.

The Bobcats (1-0) gained 302 yards of total offense in their opener last week and were very balanced in their attack, gaining 159 yards rushing and 143 passing.

Yoder pointed to wide receivers Myles Burgess (4 catches, 76 yards last week) and Haydan Roberts (4 catches, 47 yards, TD) as playmakers in Frostburg State’s offense, as well as running backs Chuky Iweh and Marcus Smith.

Shenandoah limited Gallaudet’s triple-option offense to only 114 yards last week, including just 69 rushing yards on 53 carries (1.3 yards per carry). Yoder said the Hornets will have to control the line of scrimmage again this week in order to counteract Frostburg State’s physicality in the running game.

“They run behind their pads. The first guy never takes them down. Their yards after contact are big,” Yoder said. “For us, I think it’s always going to start and end — but especially this week — up front. They’re playing some younger guys. If we can control the line of scrimmage like we did this past weekend, we’re going to have an excellent chance to play well. If we don’t, what they do is going to hurt us. We’ve got to get after it and be ready to go.”

The Hornets’ defense — which will be without senior linebacker Sean Blackman (ankle) tonight — will also have to account for Bobcats senior quarterback Ken Emmons, whom Yoder called Frostburg State’s best player on offense.

Emmons, a dual threat as a runner and thrower, completed 9 of 21 passes for 143 yards, one touchdown and one interception and carried the ball nine times for 74 yards and another score in last weekend’s win.

“We’re going to definitely have to be patient with him,” said Griffin, who had seven tackles and a sack for Shenandoah last weekend. “We’re going to have to keep our contain on the d-line and be able to spot linebacker-wise.”

Shenandoah’s offense is coming off a 295-yard effort in the opener, in which the Hornets rushed for 196 yards on 45 carries. The Hornets were able to distribute carries evenly among running backs Cedrick Delaney (nine carries, 47 yards), Kye Hopkins (seven carries, 44 yards, 2 TDs) and Dalaun Richardson (eight carries, 34 yards), a feat afforded by the ability of Shenandoah’s offensive line to dominate the line of scrimmage, Yoder said.

Senior quarterback Drew Ferguson (13 of 21 passing, 76 yards last week) also rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries for the Hornets against Gallaudet.

Frostburg State allowed just 26 yards rushing last week as Geneva was forced to play from well behind early in last Saturday’s contest.

“I think the thing that comes across from the film is their linebackers can run and up front they’re playing a ton of guys,” Yoder said. “They’re playing maybe 10 or 12 guys [up front]. … If we can string some drives together like we did against Gallaudet and the way we play tempo-wise, I think that can help us. We just have to make sure we stay ahead of the chains and don’t give up negative plays because that’s what they’re relying on right now to make stops.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com