Taking away the positives from a loss is something every football team hopes to do. And after opening the season with a defeat at the hands of a Division I opponent, Shorter University’s team is working to do just that.
The Hawks lost 48-10 to East Tennessee State on Saturday in Johnson City, Tennessee, but Shorter head coach Zach Morrison is clear they have no plans to slow down or give up.
Late in the game, the Hawks pieced together several defensive stops and then strung together a scoring drive on their last possession to end the game on a high note.
“That was a tough and physical opponent, and we were able to pull off some successful drives offensively, big stops defensively, and special teams were solid for most of the game,” Morrison said. “We’re going to work on fixing some of those mistakes and continue to get these guys ready for West Florida at home this weekend.”
Shorter (0-1) will dive right into its Gulf South Conference schedule with Saturday’s game at Barron Stadium against the Argonauts. The team out of Pensacola, Florida, lost to fellow Division II school Carson-Newman 20-13 last weekend.
This week’s game will give the Hawks a chance to end a winless streak in both conference and regular season play that goes back to October, 2015.
Next to Nicholas Pope’s 36-yard field goal at the end of the first half, the Hawks’ only other score against East Tennessee State came when Aeneas Dennis came off the bench and led Shorter on a 78-yard drive capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass to John Dietl III.
Morrison made a comparison to how his team did last season when it opened the schedule with a 66-9 loss at Samford.
“We totaled 163 yards of offense on a tough defense, which is not ideal, but it is growth from last season to this season,” said Morrison. “We are proud of a lot of guys on the team and the communication they displayed on the field. There are a lot of positives to pull from the game, but we still need to execute better.”
Dietl III, a true freshman from Tampa, Florida, was named the team’s offensive player of the week, while linebacker Xavier Robinson earned defensive player of the week honors for recording 11 tackles against the Buccaneers. Special teams player of the week is Brett Bardenwerper, who averaged 40 yards per punt and had a long of 51.
“We played with so much energy and enthusiasm throughout the game,” Morrison said. “I’m proud of how we were able to get off the field during the third and fourth quarters. We got a couple huge stops in the second half and Jeffery Brewer with his first interception. The guys are playing hard and making strides as we progress towards the rest of the season.”
Scout team players of the week for the Hawks are Caleb Winton (offense), Bryan Bordeaux (defense), and Jordan Hughley (special teams).