The Southeastern Lions football team had gotten out to a 2-0 start on the back of a strong run game.
The Lions won their first two games, defeating the rival Northwestern State Demons on the road 34-20 on Sept. 3rd. The Lions then won a close game against the visiting Florida Tech Panthers on Saturday night by a score of 28-17.
The Lions’ run game had been the backbone of the offense through the first two games, especially after starting quarterback D’Shaie Landor had to leave the Florida Tech game with a knee sprain in the 1st quarter.
After rushing for over 400 yards and 5 touchdown in their week 1 victory over Northwestern, the Lions’ run game had managed only 167 yards and a single touchdown against Florida Tech, according to the Southeastern Sports Information Office. Head Coach Ron Roberts blamed the lower output of the run game on not having Landor’s experience to lead the offense. As he told the Advocate, “…our running game changed (when Landor left). We couldn’t check as much at the line. It’s a cerebral offense, and we want to make sure we get the right looks.” Without Landor to make checks at the line and the proper reads on option plays, the Lions’ offense was slowed by the Panthers.
Going into the Florida Tech game Coach Roberts had planned on using the passing game more than he had in week 1, telling The Daily Star that they were going to throw the ball a lot more. After Landor left the game they had to rely just as heavily on the run game as in week 1, attempting only 11 passes with freshman backup Donovan Isom at quarterback.
In the same interview with The Daily Star, Coach Roberts said, “When you have a good defense, you’re going to err on the side of being conservative. I’m going to make sure I don’t put them in a bad spot…” The group of seniors that Southeaster had on offense were able to do just that Saturday, playing a conservative style of offense and keeping the defense out of bad situations.
The Lions were able to play complimentary football and stay in position to win the game late by not taking unnecessary risks on offense . This strategy payed off early in the 4th quarter when senior running back Xavier Roberson scored the Lions’ lone offensive touchdown on a 2 yard run that put them ahead for good (SELU Sports Information Office).
Freshman running back Julius Maracalin didn’t play as well in week 2 as he did in week 1. Maraclin rushed for 120 yards on 12 carries against Northwestern, but without Landor leading the offense Maraclin only managed 20 yards against Florida Tech (SELU Sports Information Office).
Maraclin still lead the Lions in rushing, with 140 yards on the ground despite his lackluster week 2 performance. Southeastern’s other leading rushers include Roberson and Senior Kody Sutton, who had rushed for 121 and 98 yards respectively–both players had rushed for 2 touchdowns.
Along with the Lions’ trio of running backs, their starting quarterback D’Shaie Landor had also done well as a ball carrier, rushing for 118 yards on 13 carries according to the SELU Sports Information Office.)
Story was written on September 17, 2015