Lions to host Hornets in home opener

Jordan Larimore

The Lions finished a two-game, season opening road trip winless after last Saturday. “It was a struggle for us and Washburn had a lot to do with that,” Lions Head Coach Bart Tatum said. “They’re a very good football team.”After the Lions started with a field goal on their opening drive, the Ichabods took over, scoring 35 points without a whimper from Southern to go into halftime up 35-3.The Lions did put up a late fight however as Daniel Thompson added two more scores along with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Colin Howard to former high school teammate Landon Zerkel.The final score was 54-31 as the Ichabods continued cranking out points. They put up 82 in their second game of the season for a school record.The loss was not the only blow delivered to the Lions. In Topeka, preseason All-American linebacker Jared Brawner went down with a leg injury which required season-ending surgery. Brawner was widely considered the leader of the Lions’ defensive unit.”We gotta hold our heads high. No one said it was gonna be easy,” Tatum said. “We might take the field Saturday with five starters in street clothes. We know what we have. We have to stay healthy from this point and we have younger players that have to grow up.”Southern’s fans may wonder who they will be watching replace Brawner, according to Tatum, that responsibility will fall on sophomore Richard Williams who, “has all the tools to be a very good linebacker, he just needs playing time, which he will get plenty of.” As for Southern’s struggles offensively, Tatum believes the team needs to be more consistent, taking advantage of their chances to put the ball in the end zone.The Lions will host Emporia State tomorrow to begin a three-game homestand which will include homecoming against UNO and the Annual Miner’s Bowl after tomorrow’s contest with Emporia. “The fan base we’ve had the first two games has been pretty good but nothing like a home game,” said senior Wide Receiver and Running Back Johnny Johnson. “We should have some fun this weekend. I think we’re poised for a big one””It’s great to be home. We look forward to playing in front of our fans, our student body and getting our first win in front of our own people,” said Tatum.The Hornets were picked 8th in both the preseason coaches’ poll and the first ever preseason MIAA media poll.