EMORY, Va. - Emory & Henry College Football is back. This Saturday, September 3, Curt Newsome leads his young, yet experienced team to Ferrum College to take on the Panthers. The game has a little more intrigue this season with former E&H Associate Head Coach Rob Grande now leading the Panthers. In addition to the coaching dynamic of the game, the Emory & Henry-Ferrum season-opener will now be known as the "Crooked Road Classic." This rivalry, which dates back to 1985, will now be culminated with a trophy that will be given to the winner after each meeting.
Emory & Henry has been dominant in this series and especially in recent history. Overall, the Wasps hold a 22-9 lead over the Panthers. Most notably is the fact that the E&H has won nine straight games by a combined score of 354-146 (39.3-16.2). Last season, the Wasps trounced the Panther 55-7 in Emory. On offense, quarterback Kevin Saxton (Monroe, N.C.) threw for 199 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, former safety, Ryan Byrd, was named ODAC Defensive Player of the Week following a 13-tackle, one-sack performance.
Emory & Henry
Last season, the Wasps finished 6-4 (4-3 ODAC), tying for third in the league. The squad was picked to finish fourth in this year's preseason poll. On offense, Emory & Henry returns three All-ODAC players from last year in senior McFarland Murph (West Columbia, S.C.) junior Grayson Williams (Martin, Ga.) and sophomore Tyree Ward (Statesville, N.C.). Murph and Williams will bolster the offensive line which helped the team average 172.5 rushing yards per game in 2015. Ward scored 10 touchdowns a season ago on his way to being named to the All-ODAC Second Team.
On defense, cornerback Tre'von Lightfoot (Big Island, Va.) was named to the All-ODAC First Team and the D3football.com All-South Region Third Team after finishing with 17 pass breakups and four interceptions. Also returning is All-ODAC Third Teamer Rhasheen Williams (Charlotte, N.C.), who will provide leadership from his linebacker position.
The Panthers finished the season 2-8 (2-5 USA South) last year. FC returns 17 starters, two of whom were named to the all-conference first team, in a defensive lineman and punter. Starting quarterback Harvey Taylor only attempted one pass last season, but rushed for 143 yards and four touchdowns, making him the leading returners. In 2015, the Panthers averaged 266.3 rushing yards and 110.5 passing yards per game. The key to success against Ferrum will be, once again, to stop the run.
Kickoff for Saturday's game is at 1:00 p.m., at W.B. Adams Stadium. The Emory & Henry tailgate will begin at 11:00 a.m. Click here for more information about the tailgate.