Hornets ready for Eagles

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Shepherd Skanes is convinced his football team was ready for West Alabama.

And not just ready to compete.

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Concordia expected to leave Livingston with a win.

Even if the 28-21 score didn’t go in the Hornets’ favor, their opponents had to admit they were fortunate to get a win.

“Coach Bobby Wallace came and shook my hand after the game and said, ‘Y’all beat us up and down the field. We gave you everything we had,'” Skanes said. “They have 26 Division-I transfers on the field. When a team has that, you know they’re playing.”

The game last Saturday could have gone several different ways.

Skanes said a handful of plays – maybe not even that many – were the difference between the Hornets being 2-1 instead of 1-2 right now.

Perhaps the most significant of those plays was a fourth down Concordia failed to convert late in the game.

There was also a field goal John Halman hooked sharply through the left upright. The officials waved off the kick, leading to a 10-point swing in favor of the Tigers.

One thing the Hornets have learned in their three-year existence as a program is not to worry about things they can’t control.

“People are going to second guess and say we should have done this or that, but if our player doesn’t slip on fourth down, it’s a different ball game,” Skanes said.

The Hornets play a rare Thursday night game this week against what will be one of the toughest opponents in the short history of the program.

Tennessee Tech boasts a powerful offense led by quarterback Lee Sweeney, last season’s Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year. Sweeney led the league in total offense last year and is already in the top 10 for career passing yards for the Golden Eagles.

Sweeney’s favorite target is 5-foot-9 receiver Larry Shipp. Shipp returned an 87-yard kickoff for a touchdown and caught two more in last week’s 45-21 win over Cumberland Valley.

Like all underdogs, the Hornets are going into the game with the mindset they have nothing to lose.

“If we lose, we can come out with a moral victory,” Skanes said. “There’s no need to go out and get embarrassed.”

Still, it would be nice to take an upset with them on the bus ride back from Cookeville.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, we’re ready to go out and play,” Skanes said. “I do believe in my guys. I know the football world is not giving us a chance. But if we play the way we can, we can come out successful.”