By: Adrien Merrilles and Lakyn Hager
Football season has officially kicked off at Reinhardt University. The Eagles opened up the 2018 season on the road at Bethel University on Thursday, August 23. Reinhardt came into the game ranked #2 in the nation with the plans of making another run toward a national championship. For Bethel, the new season signified a new beginning. First year head coach Brent Dearmon has returned to his alma mater in hopes of turning the program around from last years’ 3-7 season. Coach Dearmon has had several coaching stints most recently working two years under Gus Malzahn at Auburn University. For Reinhardt, the season is a chance to continue their dominance in NAIA Football. Coming off their 12-1 season in 2017, head coach James Miller returns for his 2nd season as the head coach at Reinhardt and looks to lead the Eagles to a national championship that eluded them last year.
Reinhardt Game Summary
Reinhardt struck quickly on offense scoring a rushing touchdown within the first three minutes of the game before stalling on several possessions. Reinhardt possessed the ball for over 35 minutes and amassed 292 rushing yards. Junior Montralious Mosley led the team with 104 rushing yards averaging 6.5 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown. M’Calun Lanier was second rushing leader with 54 rushing yards averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Reinhardt’s passing game struggled all game. Bethel’s tough defensive line pressured Reinhardt’s young sophomore quarterback Billy Hall forcing him to throw two interceptions during the game. Hall completed 6 passes for 34 yards throughout the game. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles were led by Tevin McCoy with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks followed by Quincy Standifer and Jacorris Lamar who each had 6 tackles. Even though these players stood out, the Eagles were not able to slow the Wildcats offense. Eagles head coach James Miller summed up the game by saying “We weren’t sharp in all three phases of the game. On offense, we kept getting behind the sticks and struggled to throw the ball; and we can’t turn the ball over. On defense, I thought we played well in the second half and had a couple good stops, but we have to tackle better. We have to go back to the drawing board and make adjustments. This is not the end of the season, but it’s a gut check to everyone involved in the program. We have to step up and look in the mirror – come out fighting, executing and doing the little things better.” (credit: reinhardteagles.com)
Bethel Game Summary
Bethel’s offense provided a challenge for Reinhardt all night. The Wildcats came out of the gate strong and were ready to take on the challenge of facing the #2 team in the nation. The Wildcats rushed for 181 yards led by De’ Ontay Tate with 153 yards. Quarterback Nolan Chowbay threw for 111 out of the team’s 196 passing yards on the night. For the Wildcat defense, Jeremy Beaulieu led the way with 13 tackles. Freshman David Miller also had a big game with 11 tackles. The pressure from the defensive line allowed Bethel to come out with several important stops throughout the night and continually slowed Reinhardt’s momentum. First year head coach Brent Dearmon was happy with the victory commenting, “I am so proud of these guys for the way they never gave up. We never hung our heads or pointed blame fingers at each other. They just kept chopping. Explosive plays were big for us and a big difference in the contest. Our offense put our defense in some tough situations, but they just kept coming through for us. The community and school have been so very good to us and for us to win this game for them is a dream come true. Personally, it is so good to be back home.” (credit: bethelathletics.com)
Keys to the Game
Both teams had two turnovers, but what really changed the game was the Wildcats ability to capitalize on Reinhardt’s offensive mistakes and special teams’ miscues. Penalties and field position also had huge impact on the direction the game went.
Missed opportunities and mistakes caused the season to not start out as Reinhardt had hoped. The final score fell in Bethel’s favor, 31-21.
The Eagles are 0-1 heading into their home opener against Georgetown College. The Eagles will be looking for their first win of the season while Georgetown looks for their second win on the young season. These two teams had a tough battle when they met last year in the playoffs with Reinhardt securing a victory in the close 17-10 game. The Eagles game against Georgetown is slated for a 1:30 start on September 8th at Ken White Stadium on the Reinhardt Campus.
2018 Reinhardt Football Schedule
Aug. 23: at Bethel (Tenn.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 1: BYE
Sept. 8: Georgetown (Ky.), 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 15: at Warner (Fla.), 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 22: Ave Maria (Fla.), 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 29: at Cumberlands (Ky.), 7 p.m.*
Oct. 6: Point (Ga.), 6 p.m.* (Homecoming)
Oct. 13: at Bluefield (Va.), 6 p.m.*
Oct. 20: BYE
Oct. 27: Pikeville (Ky.), 1:30 p.m.*
Nov. 3: St. Andrews (N.C.), 1:30 p.m.*
Nov. 10: at Union (Ky.), 6 p.m.*