#13 Reinhardt Eagles (8-1) at Bethel Wildcats [TN] (4-6)
Ken White Field, Waleska, GA
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Kickoff at 12:00 PM EST
Written by: Taylor Pineda and Tyler Pineda
Coming off a 70-56 loss to Campbellsville University last week, head coach Drew Cronic and his Reinhardt Eagles look to recover and possibly earn a bid to the NAIA football championship playoffs. The game will be the Eagle’s last home game of the regular season and is Senior Day for some players.
When Reinhardt Has the Ball
Niagel Curtis, a senior running back, leads the Eagles and averages 88.3 yards per game. He also leads the Eagles with 22 touchdowns on the ground. In the last game against the Campbellsville University Tigers, Curtis darted for 98 yards on 24 carries. Curtis tied Reinhardt’s record for rushing touchdowns in a game with five. Currently, Curtis is ranked #2 in scoring touchdowns per game. Additionally, Sam Jones is a player to watch out for in this high-power offensive rushing attack. Jones has been showing great success averaging 56.9 yards a game, including a career best 110 rushing yards in last week’s NAIA Game of the Week against Campbellsville University. Reinhardt is now the second-ranked rushing team in the nation averaging 357.9 yards per game. Because of the team’s overall success, the Eagles will not only continue to run the ball, but they also will pass the ball effectively. Ryan Thompson leads the air attack for the Eagles. On the season, Thompson averages 166.2 passing yards per game, while completing almost 66 percent of his passes. Aaron Kennedy and Tyler Bradley are the main receiving targets for this offense. Kennedy averages 57.3 yards per game while Bradley averages 54.5. Both players have found pay dirt three times.
For Bethel, senior linebacker Vic Czyzewski, and senior defensive back Jensen Youngblood look to rise to the occasion on the defensive side of the ball. Czyzewski leads the team in tackles with 82, 30 of them being solo. He has recorded 6.5 tackles for loss and .5 sack on the season. Youngblood is second in defensive tackles with 75, 38 of them being unassisted. On the season, he has made four tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, and forced a fumble. As a team, Bethel (TN) is ranked number six in total sacks with 30. Two prominent players who greatly benefit the Wildcat defense are senior outside linebackers Terrance Thomas and Brenton Davis. Combined, the two have recorded 14.5 sacks on the season.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Scott, Reinhardt Football
When Bethel Has the Ball
With sophomore quarterback Braxton Baugus under center, the Wildcats will look for star receiver Quincy Walden to make plays. Walden is nationally ranked sixth in all-purpose yards (1537) as well as eight catches per game with 153.7. The Medina, TN native has tallied 78 touchdowns for the season, averaging 18.2 yards per catch. In addition, Walden contributes to special teams as a punt returner. In the backfield is junior running back Devan Raymer. Raymer is a smaller back, but averages 80.5 yards per game. The offensive line opens the rushing attack for Bethel, averaging a massive 290lbs. Baugus will look to run the tempo of the game and rely on Walden, Raymer, and the offensive line to have success.
For Reinhardt, sophomore linebacker Jacob Gross leads the team with 71 tackles. Defensive end Javier Dyer comes into the game with 7.5 sacks. The Eagles have only allowed an average of 25.6 points per game and look to continue to play solid defense despite last week’s loss. Redshirt junior Juice Arnold will be counted upon to have a stellar performance coming off an 11-tackle game against CU. The Eagles on average allow 170 rushing yards per game, but look to stop the Wildcat offense.
Keys to the Game
Reinhardt’s offense must continue to build on their scheme’s success.
Offensively, Niagel Curtis must carry the rushing attack for Reinhardt. In addition, Sam Jones must have a great game as well. In the passing game, Ryan Thompson must locate Aaron Kennedy and Tyler Bradley and capitalize.
Reinhardt must win the turnover margin and secure the ball. The offense must protect the ball while the defense must create turnovers and continue to give scoring opportunities for their offense. The Reinhardt offensive line must provide vital support and protect their quarterbacks.
Reinhardt must be able to stop the run-first scheme of Bethel and pressure the quarterback on the play-action pass.
The Eagles defense must look past allowing 70 points against Campbellsville and recoup this week.
Both of the teams look to come out victorious this Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats hope to spoil Reinhardt’s postseason chances and will be playing their last game of their 2015 football season.
Prediction: Reinhardt 49 Bethel 21
If the Eagles win this game, they will make it to the NAIA Football Championship playoffs for the first time in their program history. The Eagles are a young and newer team, only being in existence for three years. Their record will be 9-1, which is the best record Reinhardt ever had. These teams will be meeting for the third time in Mid-South Conference West Division play. In 2013, Reinhardt won at home 41-36. In 2014, Reinhardt won again, but this time on the road with a score 63-35. Reinhardt leads the series 2-0.
August 29th @ Point University W 73-21
September 12th vs Kentucky Christian W 52-3
September 19th @ Georgetown College W 35-26
September 26th vs University of Pikeville W 32-28
October 3rd @ Bluefield College W 80-14
October 10th vs #10 Faulkner University W 55-27
October 17th @ Cumberland University W 52-18
October 24th vs #1 Lindsey Wilson W 42-24
November 7th @ Campbellsville University L 70-56
November 14th vs Bethel University 12 noon EST