Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Hornets Football Season Wrap-Up 2009

Head coach Al Lavan and the Hornets football team finished second to last in the MEAC Conference. 4-7 overall, 3-5 in the MEAC, including the forfeit lost to North Carolina A&T.

The 2009 Delaware State Hornet football season has come to a close. Just like last year inconsistency was the main attraction as head coach Al Lavan and the Hornets are left searching for answers.

When the season started I was hoping the Hornets would at least improve better than last year and win at least six games. However thanks to their toughest schedule in the Lavan era, the Hornets had games they would've won but couldn't get the job done.

Plus with the lack of inconsistency on offense, the hornets couldn't get the ball into the endzone when they had the chances to score touchdown in their opponents territory and the redzone. Instead they had to settle for field goals. The Hornets quarterback Anthony Glaud was supposed to help the offense get better. Instead he was overthrowing passes, throwing interceptions and scrambling to get passes thrown. No wonder he's only thrown five touchdown passes this season. Other than that he made plays when it count the most.

The reason behind those five passing touchdowns is our wide receivers. Sure they saw some signs of life late in the season but early in the season they kept dropping pass after pass. Especially when big plays occur to keep drives alive. In fact everytime they almost made a pass the Hornets hear footsteps of the defense as they are afraid to get hit costing the Hornets to drop passes everytime. Plus their routes where getting no where fast everytime they tried to get open.

As for the running game, it was injured riddle with Jason Randall and Tahree McQueen being out for the season. The question was who was going to step up? Survey says: Jaashawn Jones. Al Lavan kept saying every year that in order to win football you have to make big plays when you run the football and Jones made a huge production for the Hornets. Jones ran over 600 yards and scoring five touchdowns. Also he had more carries and yards than Randall and McQueen combine. Look for Jones to be the starting running back for the Hornets next year.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Hornets kept giving up big yards and big plays. However, throughout most of the season they did a pretty good job picking up big time tackles, blitzing, getting sacks, and knocking passes down despite giving up 63 points to Michigan and 52 points to South Carolina State. The defense can't afford to stay on the field for a long time or they will tired themselves out.

On special teams, the return team has to do a better job of helping the Hornets offense in better field so they can scored a lot of points in opponents territory/red zone. On coverage I applaud them by putting their opponents if deep field position but they need to avoid giving up big returns. Plus when the Hornets are punting the football, always protect the kicker!!!

Last year I didn't trust Riley Flickinger kicking field goals and missing 10 of his 20 attempts. This year he improve alot better than last year by making 11 of his 18 field goal attempts. Even though he doesn't have a strong leg for making very long field goals, Riley kicked 7 for 8 from 20-29 yards, two between 30-39 yards and two between 40-49 yards. I'm been saying this for the last two years. Riley is no Peter Gardener from 2007. On some kickoffs, Riley kept kicking the ball out of bounds allowing their opponents to start their drives at the 40-yard line.

Now it's time break down the games if the 2009 Hornet Football season:

September 5 Florida A&M 21, DSU 12
The Hornets defense were no match against FAMU's running game which gained 327 yards. DSU gave up over 400 total yards on the day. Also there were mental errors on both sides of the football with penalties and turnovers that cost DSU the game. The Hornets tried to rallied but they fumbled twice deep in FAMU territory where the Hornets fumble at the FAMU 35 yard line late the in the third quarter and at FAMU 16 yard line in the fourth quarter.

September 19 (The Route 1 Rivalry)
University of Delaware 27, DSU 17
The last time these two teams meet was in the first round of the 2007 Football Championship Subdivision Playoff game where the Blue Hens, led my Joe Flacco and Omar Cuff demolished the Hornets in a blowout. This year, 2009, very different. One, this was not the same Hornets that got destroyed two years ago. Second, they came ready to play and put UD on the ropes for most of the game.

The Hornets got their feet wet in the first quarter but they were able to hold UD to just seven points by halftime including a goal line stance before the second quarter had come to a close.

In the second half, UD was able score drives that counted. while the Hornets struggle in the third quarter but late in the fourth quarter the Hornets scored a defensive touch and a offensive touchdown to keep the score as close as possible.

At the end of the game, the Hornets gained a lot of respect from UD supporters and can't wait for these two in-state schools to duke it out again on the grid-iron in 2012-2014.

September 26
DSU 20, Hampton 6
The Hornets defense dominated the Pirates all night long by forcing three interceptions (one return for a touchdown) and making big plays. On offense, the Hornets were able to finished drives with two touchdowns and a field goal.

October 10
Bethune-Cookman 9, DSU 7
"We let them hang around all game, and it came back to bite us." That was the quote that coach Al Lavan told reporters after the game. The Hornets only highlight of the game was when redshirt freshman Travis Tarpley returned the opening kickoff 85-yards to the Bethune-Cookman two-yard line. On the first play after the return, Jaashawn Jones rushed for a two-yard touchdown. That all occur early in the first quarter. Since then, Anthony Glaud was injured, the running game managed just 76 yards and the passing game continues to be a identity crisis.

This was the game the Hornets should have won on their home opener. Instead it lead to a ugly lost that made Hornets fans disappointed and frustrated.

October 17
Michigan 63, DSU 6
Instead of playing North Carolina A&T, the Hornets settle to play in the Big House of Michigan University. Even though it was historic event, the Hornets were outclassed from start to finish. Since May, there was a lot of criticism on why did the Hornets forfeit their own conference game to play Michigan for $500,000. The were some answers but there real answers was miscommunication between A&T, DSU, and Norfolk State.

October 24
Homecoming 2009
DSU 35, Morgan State 22
"Where have the Hornets offense been all season?" That was the question Hornets' broadcaster Scott Klaztin would asked as the Hornets offense scored a season high five touchdowns as the Hornets win a so-call homecoming shootout. It was a solid team effort on both sides of the football as Hornets continue to give Morgan State nightmares on homecoming games in Dover.

October 31
South Carolina State 52, DSU 10
The defending MEAC Champion Bulldogs made a whole lot treats and allowed the Hornets to fall into their tricks as the Bulldogs continue to dominated the MEAC Conference.

November 7
DSU 24, Winston-Salem State 21
It was the final meeting between these two schools as the Rams say goodbye to the MEAC Conference. The Hornets were up 24-7 at halftime but held on without scoring a point in the second as the Winston-Salem State rally felled short. It was almost a tale of two halves but Hornets defense has enough gas in the tank to pull out the victory.

November 14
Norfolk State 21, DSU 16
For the last two years, the Hornets rallied from double-digits down to secured the victory. This year, Norfolk State had the last laugh as the Hornet put up a disappointing fourth quarter performance on both sides of the ball as the Spartans score 21 straight points in the final 11:00 to get the victory. There was plenty of blame to go around in the fourth quarter due to bad play calling.

November 21
Senior Day
DSU 30, Howard 20
Both the Hornets offense and defense made big plays when it matter as DSU ended the season on a high note and left the Bison to finished dead last in the MEAC standings once again. What's worse Howard hasn't won a MEAC game in 19 straight games. How embarrassing.

So there you have it the Hornets football season has come and gone with some good memories, some bad ones, and a few ugly ones in-between. Next year, the Hornets better come up with new plays and new recruiting or there will be another inconstant year coming up in fall 2010.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hornets Put On Their Best Performance Since Homecoming

Well, well it's the last home game of the season and the Delaware State Hornets football team had put up one of their best performances they had all season. In fact its their best performance since Homecoming.

Everything was put into place during Senior Day in the Hornets 30-20 home victory over Howard. Its only the second time the Hornets put up 30 or more points all season.

Offense and defense was the name of the game as Hornet fans were in for a treat they will never forget and a lot to talk about during the off-season.

Let start with the defense:
The Hornets made some great tackles to prevent the Bison from gaining big plays especially their running game when the Hornets held Howard for 29 yards on the ground and 187 yards of total offense. The Hornets made the big hits when it counts accept for a few defensive penalties that should be called back but overall the defense had a remarkable game.

Now on to the offense:
Every Hornet fan expects the Hornets to score more at least 30 points against a Howard team who hasn't won a MEAC game since last year. Well guess what the Hornets offense came in a big way by gaining 450 of total offense. The reason behind the 450 yards of offense was their passing game and their running game. Anthony Glaud put on his best games all season when completed 23 of his 31 passes for 315 yards.

Plus his wide receivers step up for the second straight game. Darius Jackson (11 catches, 123 yards) and Larrone Moore (five catches, 101 yards) each had over 100 yards catching, a personal best and career highs. Also Al Lavan's favorite play calling the running game was a complete success when Jaashawn Jones went 31 carries, 130 yards and two touchdowns. Plus once again they finished drives with two touchdowns and three field goals. Also the Hornets had more time of possession than Howard has the hornets offense kept the ball for over 38 minutes.

I was wondering why couldn't Hornets do that all season? Maybe they would've been a six win or seven win team. I just hoped next year the Hornets offensive playing will improve big time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A 4th Quarter Hornet Collapse; This Time Norfolk State had the Last Laugh

Remember 2007 when the Hornets were down 21-3 with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Hornets rally to forced overtime and win the game and the MEAC Championship at home?

How about last year on the road at Norfolk when the Hornets were down 28-10 at halftime came back and scored 28 unanswered to win 34-28.

This time Norfolk were playing come from behind and getting the last laugh.

This was the most disappointing fourth quarter the Hornets had ever performed during their 21-16 lost at the hands of Norfolk State at home.

The Hornets had a great offensive/defensive agenda to keep the Spartans at bay for 60minutes. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. In order to win a football game you have top play hard for a full 60 minutes.

Once again the Hornets football found another way to lose by letting Norfolk scored 22 unanswered points in the final 11:48 of the final period.

I'm still scratching my head asking myself, "How in the world did this happen?" Well there is old saying anything can happen in college football.

Plus early in the game the Hornets settle for three field goals instead of touchdowns after forcing three Norfolk State turnovers. It came back to haunt them in the 4th quarter.

Let's start with the offense of the 4th quarter. The Hornets tried to run out the clock or at least try to scored three or six points.

That wasn't the case because the Hornets only put up 20 plays for 81 yards, two punts, and a game ending interception. The Hornets tried to used the running game to their advantage just like the first three quarters and Norfolk was ready for that.

On defense, how in the world did the defense gave up 236 yards in final quarter and let Norfolk State score three touchdowns?

That question was easy, they were playing hard to lose by leaving receivers open even though they tried to blitz it didn't work. Plus there were poor tackling and leaving gaps open for big plays.

Give Norfolk State football team and their fans credit because they didn't quit on the game and themselves. When you down 16-0 in the 4th quarter, you fight to the very end and it paid off in a big way.

Now that the hornets lost the game to Norfolk I'm pretty sure a lot of Hornet fans are pretty upset about the way the game. Some are criticizing the coaches, the players, and the plays they made.

The Hornets better not lose to Howard on Senior Day or there will major changes come next season.

Lady Hornets Impressive In Their Season Debut on Friday The 13th

Even though I couldn't get a chance to see the 1st half due to a bus ride, I was able to catch the second half of the Lady Hornets 84-28 victory over Lincoln University. Oh did you know it was Friday the 13th? That's right and anything can happen on Friday the 13th good or bad.

Let's start with the positives during the game:
-Five lady hornets scored in double-figures: Brittany Washington 17 points (career high), Selena Galloway 17 points (game high), Courtney Crockett 15 points (career high), Alexis Abraham 14 points, and Stephanie Brush 10 points

-The Lady Hornets offense shot a sizzling 52% from the field, 77% from the free throw line, and 22 assists.

-Defense is nothing new to DSU as they had grabbed 43 rebounds, 19 steals and five blocks, and played in that "Detroit Piston" like defensive intensity all night.

Now on to the bad aka the Friday The 13th Jinx:
-DSU's Ashley Thompson played only six minutes after suffering a leg injury. Her status is unknown.

-Lincoln University's offense was so bad that they think it was actually a Jason lurking around Memorial Hall. None the less the offense shot a dismantle 23% from the field, 50% from the free throw line, a technical foul, and 34 turnovers ouch!!! No wonder they only scored 28 points.

-Lincoln was held under 20 points during the first and second half (18 in the 1st, 10 in the 2nd).

-Our attendance was 435 fans, c'mon Hornets fans we have to get better.

Other than that the lady hornets had a great night on offense and defense especially turning defense into offensive points. If they keep this pace maybe you might see another 20 win season. It's way too early to tell because anything can happen in college basketball but I liked their chances and that's no jinx

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Tough Season For Lady Hornets Soccer

Once again it was another bad season for the lady hornets soccer team under head coach Nitan Soni. First the lady hornets were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Great West Conference tournament at the hands of Utah Valley 6-1. To make matters worse, already in his first two years as head coach of lady hornets soccer, DSU has only four wins, 26 losses, and three ties.

Ouch!!! Now that's pretty painful, but I'm not downing the lady hornets. Besides ever since they won the United Soccer Conference championship (USC) in 2006, they have lost a lot of good players. Their replacements has step up on defense but their offense has been their inconsistency. The lady hornets has only scored three goals or less all season.

It feels like nothing went right the last couple of seasons. I just hope next year the lady hornets will get back in rhythm next season in August 2010 in the Great West Conference and hopefully produce more wins and get a winning season. It maybe sound like tough task but it can be done.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Delaware State Plays Winston-Salem State One Final Time in Football

Winston-Salem State University continued their "Farewell to the MEAC Tour" with their final contest in football against Delaware State earlier today.

Ever since Winston-Salem State joined the MEAC during the 2007-2008 season, they were some high expectations for the Rams to challenge the MEAC schools in football. In their first year tenure of 2007, the Rams finished 6-5 defeating North Carolina A&T, Morgan State, Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman, and Hampton.

Last year, everything went downhill when the Rams finished with three wins and one of those wins as against Delaware State.

Did I say Delaware State? Yes I did because everyone will never forget the heartbreaking lost the hornets suffered on November 8, 2008, Alumni Stadium, Senior Day. The hornets led 26-14 at halftime thanks to their running game and almost 399 yards of total offense. The problem came in the second half when the Rams scored 13 second half points and the defense kept DSU out of scoring range the rest of the game.

Not only did the hornets lost the game 27-26 but over 900 fans were frustrated at the lack of effort the hornets made.

Okay, so I went a little overboard let's go back to 2007 when the Hornets rallied to win on a game winning field goal at Winston-Salem State's Homecoming 23-20. That gave the Hornets plenty of momentum on their way to beat Norfolk and Howard to win the MEAC Championship and go to their first ever playoffs.

I'm sure the Hornets will miss Winston-Salem State in the MEAC Conference but make no mistake about it, the Hornets and Rams will meet again in basketball in 2010. Sometime in the future the Hornets and Rams will compete for pride and respect of HBCU.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lady Hornets Bowling Picking Up Where They Left Off

Junior Angela Reynolds led the Hornets with a total pinfall of 1073 at the FDU Fright Knight Invite.

Even with a new coach, the results remain the same for the defending MEAC champion lady Hornets bowling team.

On Halloween weekend, the Lady Hornets showed other teams that they could be the favorite to win another MEAC championship and possibily the national championship.

During the Fright Knight Tournament weekend the lady hornets defeated teams like #8 New Jersey City, Bethune Cookman, Long Island, #10 Kutztown, Florida A&M, #15 Morgan State, Fairleigh Dickerson, and Maryland Eastern Shore.

The Lady Hornets are 7-0 in Baker matches and 9-4 overall. Pretty good start for the defending champions.

Starting on the weekend of November 7th, the Lady Hornets will begin defending their MEAC title with a trip to Hampton, Virgina and the North Division Invitation.

Good luck to the lady Hornets this season on defending the MEAC Championship.

DSU bowling coach Ricki Williams-Ellison (left) talks with senior Kalyn Washburn during practice last week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hornets Cross Country Wrap Up the Season In the Top 10

The lady hornets cross country finished 6th in the MEAC Cross Country Championships

I am very proud of the men's and lady hornets cross country team this season. All season long both men and lady hornets cross country finished in the top 10 in almost every meet. 2009 is probabily one the best years the hornets cross country team has ever done. On October 31, the Hornets didn't dissapoint at the 2009 MEAC Cross Country when the men finished 2nd and the lady hornets finished 6th in the MEAC Cross Country Championships.

Here is the recap of the men's and lady hornets cross country team:
Maryland Eastern-Shore Course
Lady Hornets: 5th; Hornet men: 7th

Lady Hornets: 3rd; Hornet Men: 3rd

University of Delaware Invitational
Lady Hornets: 4th; Hornet Men: 4th

Hornet Invitational
Lady Hornets: 2nd; Hornet Men: 3rd

Delaware Blue & Gold Cross Country Meet
Lady Hornets: 11th; Hornet Men: 10th

MEAC Championships
Lady Hornets: 6th; Hornet Men: 2nd

I am very certain with their top 10 finishes in cross country DSU will gain momuentum toward the indoor track and field and get even more top 10 finishes and maybe the MEAC Championships. Only time will tell. Congratualtions DSU Cross Country on a wonderful season.

Delaware State was runner-up in the 2009 MEAC Men's Cross Country Championship, its best showing since 1989.