Lions start the year off with tough tests

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Kenneth Armant/The Chart File

Sophomore running back Ejay Johnson burst down field during the Lions 59-10 victory over Lincoln on Sept. 21, 2013 at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Johnson racked up 64 yards on only four carries as well as a touchdown.

Ian Taylor, Sports Editor

Football season is officially underway following the season opening contest for the Lions.  

A game against MIAA foe No. 22 Emporia State on the road, but as the Lions return home eyes quickly change to the upcoming home opener against No. 1 Northwest Missouri State.

For Southern the focus continues to stay on themselves as they continue to build the continuity needed to compete with the elite teams in the conference.

“I feel like things have come together a lot,” said Head Coach Daryl Daye. “We know we got the talent, there is a lot of talent running around on the field out there … being able to sprinkle the essence on them to make them a team is very difficult to do, but that comes with time.”

After waiting nearly a month for the first game of the season, seniors like Ryon Phillips and Austin Wolfe look forward to hitting someone wearing colors other than green and gold at Fred G. Hughes Stadium next Thursday.

“I’m anxious,” said Phillips. “I feel better out there, feel like I know the scheme better out there … I’m really, really excited to get the season going.”

The Lions return a solid group on the offensive line, four starters in total. A unit that propelled Southern to the second rated rushing offense last season while missing a game following the tragic death of Coach Moore.

But even after a record setting season Wolfe and his triple option road graders feel like there is only one position the Lions will fill at the end of this years campaign.

“We are returning four guys and I have 100% confidence in them,” said Wolfe. “I think we can be number one … with 11 games this year I think we can definitely get it.”

After arguably the two toughest contests of the season to open the schedule for Southern, the Lions look to move further in the winning direction as they host the Bearcats this upcoming Thursday.