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Eagles continue search to for a win

The Eagles approach week 3 winless against the Warriors of Wayne State.

The Eagles approach week 3 winless against the Warriors of Wayne State.

Zach Read

Zach Read

The Eagles approach week 3 winless against the Warriors of Wayne State.

Zach Read

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After a disappointing first two weeks of the 2018 campaign, the Ashland University football team continues it’s search for the win column.

The next opportunity for the Eagles (0-2) to earn their first win on the season will come on Saturday (Sept. 15) as the team travels to Wayne State to open up GLIAC play.

Loing the first week in a tight game with Indiana University (Pa.) 21-17, the Eagles looked to recover this past week as they travelled to Ohio Dominican on Saturday (Sept. 8) but found no such luck as they fell to the Panthers (2-0) 24-17.

“We’re two sacks away from being 2-0 against two Top 10 teams, I mean that’s really where we’re at right now,” Owens said. “I have to make sure our team doesn’t lose its swagger, gotta make sure we stay confident, we’re the defending conference champs.”

The Eagles starting quarterback on Saturday was redshirt freshman Austin Brenner in his first career start. This came after the announcement from the athletic department that senior quarterback Billy Bahl has been suspended indefinitely for violation of athletic department policy.

On a night in which rain affected the entire game, Brenner was 19 of 27 in passing completions that amounted to 196 but no touchdowns. Brenner’s passing ability became more hindered as the game went on because Ashland head coach Lee Owens said the ball became too wet and heavy that Brenner was not able to grip it as well anymore.

Brenner showed versatility with his legs and scored a 34-yard touchdown run on the second possession in the first quarter against the Panthers.

“Overall, I thought Austin played really well, I thought he made plays with his feet but we still have to find ways to protect our quarterback,” Owens said. “I never noticed him ever losing composure and poise, which is something you look for in a freshman quarterback.”

One factor that Owens said he has addressed and will continue to address to his team is over penalties. Against the Panthers, the Eagles had a total of nine penalties that amounted to 97 yards. Owens said a lot of the penalties turned into crucial drive-stopping penalties or drive-sustaining penalties if we are on the defensive end.

“It’s hard for us because traditionally we are one of the least penalized teams in the country,” Owens said.

The Warriors have committed the fewest penalties in the GLIAC so far this season (seven) and have amounted for the fewest penalty yards (61).

This week defensively for the Eagles, keep an eye on the defensive line in guys such as James Prater Jr., Brandon May, Jack Holl, Michael Hopewell and Tristan Reichelderfer. They will go up against a Warriors offense that relies solely on the run game (439 rushing yards in two games) so look for these big guys up front to clog up the middle and cause problems for the Warriors offensively.

Owens said that a big key lately for his team has been field position and where they are starting their drives at. He said that in two weeks they have only had one short field starting at the 50 yard-line, so Owens is looking towards his kick return team to produce more and the defense to cause turnovers.

Offensively for the Warriors, in their first two games they have had three different quarterbacks play that have only combined for 159 passing yards. This makes the Warriors rely heavily on their run game.

Leading the charge in the rushing game is the tandem of senior Demetrius Stinson (157 yards), junior James Hill (104 yards, one touchdown) and senior Deiontae Nicholas (80 yards).

Defensively for the Warriors, they are led by junior outside linebacker Leon Eggleston who has recorded a team-high 15 tackles and four tackles for loss.

Last season, the Eagles played in Detroit for this same match-up and came away with the win 30-10, scoring 17 of those points in the fourth quarter to pull away. Eagles tailback Andrew Vaughn had a field day as he carried the ball 21 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns.

Keep an eye out for Vaughn to see if he can lead the charge for the Eagles and repeat what he did a year ago.

“It’s Wayne State right now, let’s go win number one, start to build a little of that swagger and confidence back,” Owens said. “Everybody is better at home, but Wayne State is one of those teams who is a lot better at home.”

The GLIAC opener is set for Saturday night (Sept. 15) at 6 p.m. at Tom Adams field in Detroit, Mich. as the Wayne State Warriors host the Ashland University Eagles.

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