By Brittany Shivers
The crowd was roaring, the bands were playing and the cheerleaders were pumping up the fans Saturday evening as the UWG Wolves took to Ra-Lin field for the first time this season on Sept. 21. Despite all the excitement surrounding the home opener and a strong first quarter, UWG failed to secure their first home win and fell to the Albany State Golden Rams 26-14.
“I told our team they [Albany State] wanted it more than we did on this night, and it showed, and we just never could get over the hump,” said Football Head Coach David Dean.
The Wolves scored a touchdown in the first quarter because they were able to move down the field offensively, which led running back Chauncey Williams to get a 2-yard run into the endzone. Omar Cervantes kicked to snag the extra point.
Unfortunately, this 7-0 lead for the Wolves would be the last time they held the lead for the rest of the game.
Albany State was able to score a touchdown and kicked a 44-yard field goal, which made the score 10-7 for the Golden Rams by the end of the second quarter.
“I think a big kick to us was the drive that we had right before the half that was a great drive for us,” said Coach Dean. “
We took the ball in the 12-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff and went down to the 3-yard line thenthrew the interception on the last play of the half, and I think that was a big momentum swing. We just never recovered from that.”
The Wolves also lost one major player at the start of the second half, senior wide receiver John Hurst, due to a shoulder injury.
“If you lose that type caliber player early in the second quarter it’s going to affect you because he’s been our big-play guy for the first two ball games,” said Coach Dean. “Losing him hurt, and we’ve just been devastated by injuries on the offensive side of the ball, still that’s no excuse, but proud to see some of our young guys step up and make plays, but the one thing that Albany State was sort of able to do was exploit some of our youth.”
UWG was able to make another touchdown in the last quarter of the game with wide receiver Tay Huff receiving a 4-yard pass from quarterback Willie Candler, but it was too late. Albany State had a strong kicking team, with Gabriel Ballinas kicking six field goals, which ultimately secured the win for the Rams.
The Wolves will try to learn from this first loss in order to play Florida Tech and other teams in the conference more competitively this season.
“We can’t let that loss carry over. The thing that we have to realize is that we haven’t even gotten into conference yet,” said Coach Dean. “We could still have an opportunity to win the conference if we can play well, and it starts in Melbourne, Fla. against Florida Tech, so we’re going to put this one behind us.”