Staff Writer: Trevor Bryan
On Saturday, November 13, Mars Hill will travel to Wingate to take on the Bulldogs for the final game of the regular season.
Mars Hill currently sits atop the SAC with an in conference record of 6-1, while Wingate is tied for third with a record of 4-2 in league play. Mars Hill hopes to clinch first place in the conference as the two teams will battle it out at Irwin Belk Stadium at 3pm Saturday.
Mars Hill University is a strong, well-rounded football team. The Lions have been able to take care of just about every opponent they have faced this year, including the number two ranked Newberry Wolves.
With the help of many weapons, like league leading wide receiver CJ Thompson, Mars Hill has climbed to third in total offense in the conference. With the ability to throw the ball well and run the ball effectively, Mars Hill has proven week in and week out that they have the potential to be national contenders.
Along with a strong offense that poses many threats, this Lions defense is not one to play around with. With players such as conference sack leader Dexter Fitzpatrick and interception leader Tristan Rankin, Mars Hill has been able to hold the title of number one defense for most of the 2021 season.
Along with allowing the least amount of yards per game in the SAC (291.3), the Lions have accumulated 21 total turnovers and 36 sacks, ranking first in both of these categories.
Wingate will attempt to play spoiler on Saturday; something they are more than capable of doing.
For their more than likely final game of 2021, the Bulldogs hope to replicate the success they had throughout the first several games of the season. Led by head coach Joe Reich, this Wingate team has proven its ability to display grit and toughness on any given Saturday.
Despite falling just short in double overtime last week against Newberry, the Bulldogs gave everything they had. Tre Morrison and Nijere Peoples are just two of many key players that helped surge an 18 point comeback to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
Wingate is currently 6-3 overall and is tied for third place in the SAC with Lenoir Rhyne University at 4-2. Even with a win, the Bulldogs chances of making the National Division II playoffs are slim, but a Wingate victory could potentially make things tricky in the conference.
If Wingate loses, Mars Hill wins the conference. If Wingate wins and Newberry wins, Newberry wins the conference. If Wingate, Limestone, and Lenoir Rhyne all win, the SAC could be staring at a four way tie for first place in the conference. How’s that for a mouthful?
On Saturday, Wingate will also be having senior day. At halftime, Wingate will be bidding farewell to and honoring the hard workers that have shown respect, commitment, and dedication to the program for the last 4 or more years.