By Maximillian C. Burgos
The football team ended its season with a dominant 27-0 victory over Southern Virginia University on Friday, Nov. 10, at home. The Lions were good on both sides of the ball against Southern Virginia. For the seniors on the team, the game could not have gone any better.
The Lions scored a season high 27 points. The offense established a balanced game plan, which kept Southern Virginia honest on defense. Head coach Casey Goff thought that the win at the end of the season was huge.
“It’s huge,” Goff said. “It’s huge for our seniors. It’s huge for our program. If you told me after our first five games that we would be sitting at 4-6, I’d say, ‘I don’t know.’ But these guys battled week in and week out. They never gave up. They continued to get better and they showed it here today.”
Goff also thought that the wins at the end of the season were great for the program.
“I think at the end of the season, we had some marquee wins this season that the program can really build on,” he said.
The Lions were anxious at the start of the game, but once they established themselves, the game took on a different look. The Lions received the ball first. Their first play on offense was a wildcat running play. The Lions center snapped the ball over senior running back Khani Glover, who could not get it before Southern Virginia could pounce on the ball.
Southern Virginia was set up with great field position to score, but the Lions defense stood up to the task. The defense forced Southern Virginia to go backward on their first series with the ball. They attempted a 47-yard field goal, but it hit the crossbar and was no good. That was the closest that Southern Virginia got to scoring the entire game.
Glover picked up from where he left off last week on the ensuing offense drive for the Lions. He helped drive the Lions down the field with his authoritative running style by making defenders miss with his stop-and-go ability. The Lions scored a field goal on the drive, putting them in the lead, where they would stay the entire game.
Goff thought that Glover played his hardest.
“Khani has been running his ass off, plain and simple,” Goff said. “A lot of people called us out in terms of our run game and the offensive line. Khani answered the call. He ran the ball hard tonight and he ran the ball hard in the second half of the season. We are proud with how he has performed and the way our offensive line has performed. Like I said, they answered the call tonight.”
In the first quarter alone, Glover had 55 yards on the ground for the Lions. At the end of the game he had 103 yards on the ground and caught three passes for 21 yards. He made the Southern Virginia defense pay for every crease they allowed to form at the line of scrimmage.
Not to be outdone on Senior Night, senior quarterback Trevor Osler also played well.Osler threw for 20 completions, 248 yards and three touchdowns. He found senior wide receiver Thomas Koenig eight times for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
One of the touchdowns that Osler threw to Koenig was like something out of a movie. Osler dropped back, with defenders in his face, and delivered a bomb to Koenig. The ball seemed to be in the air forever as Koenig ran under it. The ball squeezed itself past the hand and shoulder of the defender that was blanketing Koenig, who caught it in stride. The pass and catch were spectacular, sending the crowd into a frenzy of cheering.
Goff, as always, praised his signal caller for his performance.
“He has been a hell of a player all year,” Goff said. “He’s a kid whose confidence continued to grow throughout the season. The jumps he made from last year to this year shows that he is a kid that works his butt off. I know he’s someone that’s going to go out there and crush it when he’s done with his college days in whatever job he chooses.”
Goff also expressed pride in the ability to watch his signal caller grow with the new systems in place.
“It’s been so much fun to watch him grow as a player,” Goff said. “To have it end the way it did for him is just awesome.”
The defense also had a stellar day. The Lions defense held Southern Virginia to only 154 total yards of offense. Senior cornerback Rob Agoni shined on defense with two interceptions and eight tackles. On one particular play right before halftime, Agoni batted away a ball and then in a display of acrobatic athleticism managed to intercept the ball inches before it hit the ground.
Other defensive senior standouts were linebacker Kevin Hennelly and defensive lineman Shane Kelley. Hennelly had nine tackles and one tackles for loss. Kelley had seven tackles, including 0.5 tackles for a loss and 0.5 sacks.
Goff is proud his seniors were able to end their season the way they did. They faced a lot of adversity, but played hard to the very end.
“The adversity they had to deal with this week, on top of what they’ve gone through in their four-year career say a lot about them,” Goff said. “Coming out and being to play for this football team means a lot. They have played for three head coaches and have experienced a lot of downs. I am just excited that we were able to gift them these wins at the end of the season.”