Concordia staying hungry

Published 11:18 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

With a record of 2-0, Concordia College is off to its best start in the football program’s young history.

The Hornets — fresh off a 26-21 win over NCAA Division II Livingstone — return to the NAIA ranks against the Belhaven Blazers at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Memorial Stadium. It is the Hornets’ first home game of the season.

“It’s always good to get off the road and be at home,” said coach Shepherd Skanes.

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Belhaven enters the game 0-1. The Blazers opened their season with a 49-12 loss to West Alabama last week.

Despite the Hornets’ success, Skanes makes it a point to remain humble.

“We’re 2-0 but we’re a ‘D’ football team,” said Skanes. “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

Like Concordia, Belhaven’s football program is still in its infancy. The Blazers’ watershed season was a 7-4 finish in 1999 — the program’s second year of existence.

Belhaven and Concordia played in 2005 and 2006. The Blazers took both games 27-24 and 32-19, respectively.

The Blazers run a spread offense. Their defense is a combination of the 3-3-5 and 4-4.

“They’re going to try to toss that sucker all over the field,” Skanes said about Belhaven’s offense. “On defense, they’re going to pin their their ears back and come after us. When the ball’s snapped, they come at you from every which way.”

The Hornets will enter Saturday afternoon’s affair with a game plan similar to what they used at against Bethel and Livingstone — with a few tweaks.

“I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel,” said Skanes. “We got by two games with basically the same game plan, but a lot of tweaking is left to get things running smooth.”

With wins over Livingstone and NAIA powerhouse Bethel, overlooking a traditionally middle-tier NAIA team such as Belhaven would be easy to do. Skanes wants to make sure his team remains focused.

“We’re not overlooking Belhaven,” said Skanes. “Belhaven is the task at hand. We’re on our third step. We’ve got to step up.”