Concordia still trying to make history

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, September 9, 2008

After Saturday’s win over Belhaven, Concordia College is 3-0 for the first time in its football program’s history.

It’s also looking for a first-ever win over a Football Championship Subdivision NCAA Division I opponent.

With a contest against Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) opponent Tennessee-Martin a mere five days after their last win, the Hornets have to prepare quickly if they want to add another mark to the win column.

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The Skyhawks, 1-1, lost at Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) foe South Florida 56-7 in their season opener. They bounced back with a 56-0 shutout of NAIA opponent Baker University last Saturday. They had a down year last season at 4-7, but are only two years removed from a 9-3 season and Ohio Valley Conference championship.

“They are much bigger and have better resources,” said Concordia coach Shepherd Skanes. “It’s a good chance to play quality football and get recognition for some of our players.”

But despite the affiliation differences, Skanes feels confident in his team’s chances and ability to come away with a win on Thursday. With each win, the Hornets have gained more confidence.

“We’re playing with a little swagger,” said Skanes. “We’re playing with confidence and believing in the system. The chemistry is starting to come together.”

Skanes began preparations against Belhaven early by resting his first string after the opening drive of the third quarter.

The decision nearly proved costly as the Blazers almost overcame a 26-7 halftime deficit, but fell 27-19. The contest marked the third consecutive week that the Hornets followed a strong first half with a lackluster second half.

“We have got to play the full football game,” said Skanes. “We keep coming out with a good first half, but then we lighten up. We’ve got to keep executing. Everybody’s capable of coming back.”

The Hornets will also need their offensive leaders to build on last week’s performance against the Blazers. Quarterback Ken Johnson was 11-for-15 for 224 yards and one touchdown, and ran in for another score. Running back A.J. Ward had 12 rushes for 170 yards.

The Hornets and Skyhawks tangle at 6 p.m. on Thursday in Martin, Tenn.