Hornets’ Bauserman excited for first collegiate start

Hayden Bauserman

WINCHESTER – It’s been nearly two years since Hayden Bauserman played in a meaningful football game, but that will end this weekend.

Bauserman, named Shenandoah University’s starting quarterback on Sunday ahead of this weekend’s season opener, will make his first collegiate start Saturday night when the Hornets host Gallaudet University in a 7 p.m. contest at Shentel Stadium.

“It’s building up. I mean, it’s definitely getting closer,” Bauserman, a 2014 graduate of Central High School, said Wednesday. “I’m excited. I know … the butterflies will be going before the game. First collegiate game, it’s not much bigger than that so I’m definitely excited for it.”

Bauserman, a freshman who enrolled at Shenandoah in January after transferring from Alderson Broaddus University, competed with sophomore Travis Barton Jr. for the Hornets’ starting quarterback job in the spring and during fall camp. Bauserman learned Sunday he would be Shenandoah’s No. 1 signal caller in 2015 and immediately went to work preparing for Gallaudet.

Hornets head coach Scott Yoder said the coaching staff plans to ease Bauserman into his first collegiate start, a task that should be made easier by the wealth of experience at running back. But Yoder said easing Bauserman into the flow of the game doesn’t necessarily mean limiting his pass attempts.

“Obviously at quarterback you want to get in a rhythm, you want to make some throws and get some completions and get into the game, and all the other stuff kind of falls to the wayside,” Yoder said. “So don’t expect us just to hand it off over and over and over again, but give him some plays that he feels comfortable with, that he really likes… (The offensive coaches will) put him in spots to be successful.”

Bauserman, who lives in Woodstock, located about 40 minutes south of Winchester, said he expects plenty of friends and family to be in attendance for his debut, including his parents, grandparents and Central football coach Mike Yew.

“It’s really cool to be able to stay in the valley and be able to play so close to home,” Bauserman said. “I know that there will be a lot of people from my high school – high school coaches, parents, family, everything – which is pretty cool to be able to play in front of them again after a couple years off. That just kind of adds to the excitement.”

SERVING SUSPENSIONS: The Hornets will be missing three key players in Saturday night’s opener, as senior offensive tackle Forestt McDaniel, junior receiver Qlyl Middelijn and junior defensive back Bayvon Young will serve suspensions for “breaking team rules,” Yoder said at Sunday’s media day.

McDaniel and Middelijn are both returning starters from last season’s squad, while Young earned second team all-ODAC honors two seasons ago (he did not play football for SU in 2014).

Yoder said senior center Dustin Edwards (a second team all-ODAC pick last year) will move to left tackle in McDaniel’s absence and two freshman, Caleb Hutson and Austin Goins, will start at center and right guard, respectively.

“Really we’d like to have Dustin at center and Forestt at tackle but we’re just going to try to Band-Aid it for the game one and get through it,” Yoder said. “… The good problem we have right now is we have young freshmen O-lineman that are good. They’re inexperienced, obviously, but they’re good and they’re going to be the future. But unfortunately the future is going to be Saturday. They’re going to have to play.”

McDaniel will return from his suspension for the Hornets’ second game of the season on Sept. 12 at Ferrum, Yoder said, while Middelijn and Young are both serving two-game suspensions and won’t make their season debut until Sept. 19 at N.C. Wesleyan.

COACHING FIRST: Patrick Smoot will be making a debut of his own when Gallaudet travels to Winchester on Saturday night.

Smoot, a Stonewall Jackson High School graduate who coached football and basketball at his alma mater for several years before resigning this past spring, will be coaching in his first college football game as the quarterbacks coach for Gallaudet.

In an email Tuesday night, Smoot said the college coaching experience has been more demanding than high school, and he added that the biggest challenge he’s faced so far is learning sign language in order to communicate with the players at Gallaudet, a school for the hearing impaired.

“I’ve learned so much about organization, preparation, and the game itself,” Smoot said in the email. “It’s definitely the best learning experience I could’ve asked for. Plus when it comes to X’s and O’s (I’m) always willing to learn to prepare myself to be a better coach.

“I am excited and nervous for Saturday to get here,” he added. “I just want to make sure I do my job and help the team win. It will be exciting to make a debut so close to home. Overall I’m ready to see all the hard work we’ve put in pay off on the field Saturday night.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com