It will be a battle of the battered when the Eagles and the Warriors face off in Madison Southern’s home opener today.
Both teams will be looking for their first win of the season after a rough start which featured just one touchdown each for Southern and Southwestern in eerily similar circumstances.
The Eagles fell to Tates Creek, 39-7, in the first game of the Roy Kidd Bowl at Madison Central on Saturday.
Southwestern couldn’t get its offense going until late in a 31-7 loss to Belfry at the Don Franklin Bowl.
According to Southern coach Jon Clark, the Eagles will need to boost its offensive line, and quick, if they hope to score tonight.
“It’s a quick turnaround for us and we will just have to buckle down,” Clark said of the short week between the Eagles first game of the season and their first home opener.
The team, which racked up more injuries on Saturday, will also have to be creative when trying to fill out skilled positions.
“We are decimated at skill positions right now,” Clark said on Friday. “We have to spread our playmakers on the field if we want to win.”
On Saturday, Southern just couldn’t find a way to capitalize on its chances in the red zone and was only able to convert on one of five fourth-down opportunities, while Creek was 4-4.
Despite Southern having more possession time, Creek was able to take advantage of every drive and capitalized on all four of their chances in the red zone, while the Eagles were 0-for-3.
The Commodores took a 39-0 lead into the fourth quarter, before Southern finally got on the board with two minutes left in the game.
Tobias Storm fired off an incredible 63-yard touchdown pass to freshman Jayshaun Etheridge and Baylor Willis got the extra point.
Etheridge had four catches for 90 yards and five rushes for 22 yards, while Adrian Jones had one catchfor 13.
Storm was 12-of-21 for 213 yards and one touchdown on Saturday, while Walt Smith had four catches at 97 yards and three rushes for 16.
Southern will look to bring a more disciplined offense into tonight’s game and take advantage of their speed in the red zone.
Last season, the Warriors topped the Eagles 48-15 in Somerset. Two years ago, Southern picked up a 23-20 win.
This time around, Southwestern will likely be without some key players as several were forced to exit the Belfry game due to injury.
Friday’s 24-point setback to the Pirates was Southwestern’s first season-opening loss since 2013.
The Warriors were held to 82 rushing yards and 45 passing yards. In total, Southwestern finished with 127 yards of total offense.
Chase Doan led the way for the Warriors in rushing, finishing with 31 yards on 13 carries. Austin Barnes chimed in with 30 yards on six attempts, while Connor Crisp added 21 yards and a touchdown on a pair of rushing attempts.
Through the air, Southwestern quarterback Blake Burton threw for 40 yards. Xavier Streeter, who left the contest in the first half due to an injury, was the Warriors’ top wideout with 17 receiving yards.
The Warriors only scoring play happened with less than two minutes to go in the game when Crisp rushed for eight yards for a touchdown.