Twenty two seniors and 17 starters from last year’s Glenville State College football team are gone.
But the Pioneers who remain this fall remember all too well what happened to the squad Sept. 17, 2009 in Fairmont. And even though seventh-year head coach Alan Fiddler says his players haven’t talked too much about it this week, one has the feeling that revenge will indeed be on the minds of Glenville’s players when they entertain Fairmont State Saturday at 1 p.m. at Morris Stadium.
“You know there really hasn’t been a whole lot of talk about last year’s game,” said Fiddler. “Sure I’ve heard it a little bit, but our guys know that Fairmont is a rivalry game for us. We know Fairmont is going to come in here fired up and ready to play and they’re going to play hard and we’ve got to be on that same level. I think that was one of the things which hurt us last year. We weren’t playing at the same intensity level as Fairmont.”
For Fiddler watching last year’s FSU-Glenville game was like viewing a horror film with his team being the victim. The Pioneers scored 37 points, rolled up a season-high 540 yards of total offense, but turned the football over a whopping 10 times. The Falcons picked off a school-record tying seven GSC passes and returned two of them for touchdowns. They also recovered three fumbles and recorded a wild 50-37 victory.
“That game was very frustrating for us,” said Fiddler. “Really the whole week was frustrating for us. We had a short week because we played on Thursday night and that whole week neither of our quarterbacks took a snap in practice because of injuries. We had a guy (Jermel Corbitt) who was a receiver for us who had played quarterback in the spring that we moved back to quarterback that week. He took the snaps in practice. We weren’t planning on playing (senior quarterback James) McCants at all (he reportedly was nursing a slight shoulder separation) and then (Darold) Hughes went down early with an injury. We put the third guy in there. Then we came back with McCants and he had to do some stuff to even go in there and to be quite honest he really wasn’t all there that night.
“It was a gutsy effort on his part and he went out there and played hard, but it was such a frustrating game for us because we felt like we were the better team. But they got it done and beat us. Give them credit for that, but man it was frustrating. You’re never going to win a game when you have 10 turnovers.”
FSU cornerback Ryland Newman and safety Greg Underwood both picked off a pair of passes in that victory for the Falcons. Newman returned one of his 39 yards for a touchdown just 1:16 into the game to give Fairmont State a 14-0 lead.
Both players return this year for FSU’s defense which is currently 12th in the country in points allowed per game (11.7), but both say they know this season’s contest will be a lot different.
“It was a wild and crazy game last year that’s for sure,” said Underwood, who has 17 tackles and a team-leading two interceptions this fall. “I know I’ve never been involved in a game like that one. Our defense had 10 turnovers, but a lot of people don’t realize that Glenville put up over 500 yards of offense on us and when you have those kinds of offensive numbers you’re supposed to win.
“Obviously we can’t count on getting 10 turnovers this year because Glenville is a great team and they’re not going to make those types of mistakes again. They have great players, great athletes and I’m sure they want to make up for last year. It’s going to be a fight from start to finish. I’m sure they’re going to have a big crowd and they’re going to be ready to play right from the start so we’ve got to go in there prepared and ready to play hard and play well ourselves for 60 minutes.”
“Glenville is a rival for us and last year we came out here, made plays and took advantage of them, but that was last year and this is this year and we’ve got to move on and get past that,” said Newman. “It’s a new year, with new teams and new personnel and it’s going to be a completely different game.
“We respect Glenville. They have great running backs, a great quarterback and decent receivers and they’ve played well for the most part this season on offense. We know we’re in for a big challenge.
“We’re coming off a tough loss last week (19-16 to unbeaten Shepherd) and we want to see ourselves bounce back from that one. We’re disappointed with what happened last week, but at the same time we lost to a very good team in the final minutes so we’re not too down on ourselves. We just want to bounce back strong and try to get ourselves to 3-1 after this weekend.”