By Tom Bone
For The Register-Herald
Glenville State is where Concord would like to be at this point in the season. The Mountain Lions will be trying to turn the tables starting today on their home turf.
The Pioneers own a 2-0 record in the West Virginia Conference while the Mountain Lions are 1-2 in the league going into their homecoming game at 2 p.m. today at Callaghan Stadium. Both teams are 2-3 overall.
Concord head coach Garin Justice said, “I think Glenville’s very, very similar to what we are. They’re a 2-3 football team; they’re better than what their record says they are.
“They play quality opponents, and against Division II teams and teams within the conference, they’re taking care of business.”
Concord’s Randall Hawkins caught 16 passes from Albert Rose for 178 yards and the sole CU touchdown last weekend at Shepherd. His score gave Concord a 6-0 lead, but those were the only points the Mountain Lions could muster. The run game was held to 41 yards.
Justice said he knew running against the Rams would be a challenge. “Shepherd had the No. 1 run defense in the country last year, and they were turning everyone back,” the coach said. “It was a bit of a challenge, but our guys fought. They competed.”
The passing game generated 376 yards, creating a season high for Concord in total offense. Rose completed 30 of 50 throws but was intercepted four times.
“He had the four interceptions, but sometimes you need to go through those moments to learn,” Justice said about his freshman signal-caller. “You hate that you have to learn the hard way.
“The improvement he’s made from the Charleston game until now has been excellent. It’s been nice to see his development. We have a lot of confidence that Albert can get it done.”
There’s been no stopping Glenville State’s Rahmann Lee, who leads the conference in rushing with 544 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Quarterback Darold Hughes has thrown for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns, but has suffered seven interceptions.
The Pioneers are giving up an average of 30.8 points this year, but that stat includes a 56-46 loss to Carson-Newman and a 35-0 loss to Division II-A Chattanooga.
Justice said, “I know Glenville State’s a good defense, but they’re not as highly touted as the Shepherd defense. So hopefully we can get the run game started a little more, and take some of the pressure off of Albert.”
In Shepherdstown last Saturday, Concord’s Davon Marion led the team defensively with seven solo tackles and three assists. Defensive lineman Silas Agyeman added three more tackles for loss of yardage to put him at 11 1/2 for the year, tied for fifth best in all of NCAA Division II.
“The defense is doing an excellent job,” Justice said. “My heart goes out to those guys, all the players, all the coaches, because last year they had to deal with a young offense. This year they have to deal with a beat-up, injured offense.
“They’ve done a great job of hanging in there, keeping a positive attitude and a right mindset ... .”
Like Concord, Glenville State has played some tough competition. Justice said, “Either team could easily be 4-1 or 5-0, but we’re not. We’ve had some setbacks, we’ve had some adversity, but we’re both dangerous football teams.”
The pregame ceremony in Athens today will recognize the Concord football teams from 25 and 50 years ago, both of which won conference championships. The 1962 team claimed the institution’s first WVIAC football title.
The game will be broadcast on WWNR Radio, 620 AM.
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