WILBERFORCE — The Central State University football team is itching to play somebody who isn’t wearing a Marauders football jersey.
With just under two weeks until the season begins for CSU, the Marauders have been prepping with intersquad scrimmages. They held a Fan Appreciation Day during a scrimmage, Saturday at McPherson Memorial Stadium.
“It was outstanding. We really appreciate them coming out here today. That’s why we put on a good scrimmage for them,” said CSU coach Cedric Pearl. “We thank them from the bottom of our heart and we look for them on the road, cheering loud and proud. We can’t say thank you enough to our fans who come out and support us.”
Pearl praised the secondary, offensive line and defensive line. He said the secondary has shown a lot of improvement over last year’s group and that the D-line should be a strong point for the team.
“I thought we did a lot of good things out there, but we have to continue to work and improve. There are some things that I wish we could have executed on a little bit more, but that’s the inner coach,” he said.
Three quarterbacks got play time in the scrimmage. Marquis Wells, who will be the starter, got time with the first team. Terrence Wafford and Julian Walker got time with the second team.
“We all are excited,” said Pearl. “We’ve been doing this for a week and a half and we’re tired of playing against each other. They want to see somebody different. They’re ready to hit somebody else. The offense is tired of seeing our defense and our defense is tired of seeing our offense.”
Pearl, in his second year as head coach at Central State, said he is seeing the team improve.
“I’m really pleased with the way the team has accepted the philosophy change and everything that we’re trying to do. They’ve answered the bell on everything. They understand everything I want, discipline being the biggest thing.”
In an effort to help the team to get along better, everybody goes down to Scioto Hills, a southern Ohio campground, and lives together for the first four days of camp.
“What we do is mix them up by people, not positions. The defensive line might never talk to a wide receiver,” said Pearl. “So we mix them up so they can get to know each other.”
The Marauders are having an impact on the community as well. For the second year in a row, the team has donated school supplies to Cox Elementary. Fans showed their support during the scrimmage Saturday.
CSU opens its season at 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5 against Alderson Broaddus in Philippi, W.Va.
Reach Zach Gregory at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2124.