CSU’s Pearl wary of Dragons


By John Bombatch - jbombatch@aimmediamidwest.com



GREENE COUNTY — It’s Senior Night, and Coach Cedric Pearl’s Central State University Marauders football team will be gunning to end the 2018 regular season with a win Saturday, Nov. 3 when the Lane College Dragons come to McPherson Stadium in Wilberforce.

Pearl said he’s seen the statistics, which show how Lane College has been outscored by an average of 20.5 to 14.0 points per game so far this season, but the veteran coach has also seen how tough the Dragons have played in the past three weeks.

“In all their games, there’s one constant about them, and that’s that they’ve played hard for 60 minutes,” Pearl said in a recent Gem City Sports Network interview with Doug Brown. “They beat Miles College with one or two seconds left on the clock with a field goal, … and last week, Kentucky State was driving to win the game when Lane grabbed an interception and took it back for a score.

“So they’ve been able to pull out some victories in the end of games recently. Like I always say, the (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) is a very good league. No matter who you play, you’d better come ready to play.”

The Dragons and Marauders enter Saturday’s 1 p.m. contest tied for third place in the SIAC’s West Division with identical 2-3 division records. Lane is 3-5 overall while CSU comes win with a 4-5 overall mark. Tuskegee, whom the Marauders defeated last week, is tied atop the division with Miles at 3-2.

Quarterback Marcus Reynolds, a Georgia State University transfer, leads the Dragons on offense. Reynolds leads Lane in total offense numbers with 165 yards gained per game (339 on the ground; 1,320 through the air), and he has 10 touchdown passes. In eight games of work, however, Reynolds has thrown eight interceptions. Reynolds lead the team in rushing as well with those 339 net yards.

Omari Hampton (29 receptions, 304 yards and four TDs) and Ahmad Isaac (19 catches, 313 yards, two TDs) are Reynolds’ primary throwing targets.

Defensively, Randall Johnson has collected all three of the Dragons’ interceptions this year, and defensive end Brayce McKinzie leads the team in tackles with 58 (25 solo), 12.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Senior running back Terraris Saffold and senior quarterback Trent Mays will be among seven CSU seniors to be honored on Senior Night at McPherson Stadium.

Saffold is currently ranked second in the SIAC in rushing with 660 yards and eight touchdowns on 173 carries. Saffold leads the SIAC in all-purpose yardage with 1,521 (660 rushing, 407 receiving, and 454 on kick returns).

Mays leads the SIAC in passing with 1,990 yards through the air (127 completions on 239 attempts) for 14 TDS and 11 interceptions. He’s also the conference’s total offense leader, averaging 248.6 yards per game.

Junior wideout Kevin Greenhow is third in the league in receptions with 32, but first in receiving yards per game with 780. He has eight TD catches thus far.

Defensively, CSU’s Kailen Abrams ranks second overall with 105 total tackles (50 solo).

Pearl would like to send the senior class out with a final win.

“Oh yeah, that’s the goal. You always wanna win your last game of the season, and we want to send these guys out right,” Pearl said.

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By John Bombatch

jbombatch@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.

Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.