Hendrix College, in the wake of winning its first football game in 53 years, surges into Birmingham for its Southern Athletic Association opener Saturday afternoon.
The first-year Warriors will face Birmingham Southern, which began football five years ago.
“We’ve set our mark, but they were exactly where we are five years ago,” said Hendrix coach Buck Buchanan. “They are not going to overlook us because they’ve been in that position.”
BSU, the defending SAA champions, defeated LaGrange of Georgia, 59-38 last week.
“We are playing a disciplined, well-coached team that has been through a really good offseason,” he said. “They don’t make a lot of mistakes or get caught out of position. We have our work cut out because we can’t make the same mistakes we did last week (a 46-44 victory over Westminster) and expect the same results. They do a great job of capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes.”
The Warriors lost one fumble and were intercepted twice against the Blue Jays.
“it was good to win a game like that because we saw a lot of players make plays when we had to have plays,” Buchanan said.
He noted the poise of quarterback Seth Peters, who helped engineer a comeback six times, the blocking of tight end Doug Phillips and the defensive efforts of backs Ben Cunningham and Jake Steward. “And all three of our running backs (Dayton Winn, Travis McMahon and Austin Sevier) had runs of 10 yards or more and made a contribution.”
The Warriors left for Birmingham on Friday.
“We got a lot of those firsts out of the way, both good and bad,” said Buchanan. “Now, it’s our first road trip. And we get to see what a top team in our conference looks like.”
It’s the home opener for the Panthers.
“It seems everybody we play on the road is either a home opener or a homecoming,” said Buchanan. “Everybody wants the chance to look good against new.
“... But we get to go into the game this week with the longest continuing winning streaks (2) in years (53) in college football.”