Category Archives: Wingate University

Wingate wins 6th straight by beating Tusculum on Senior Day; advances to playoffs

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

Wingate built a 16-0 halftime lead and held on for a 16-12 victory over visiting Tusculum on Nov. 10. With its sixth-straight victory, Wingate (8-3 overall, 5-2 SAC) clinches second place in the final SAC regular-season standings.

Wingate senior defensive back Cameron Mattison celebrated Senior Day in style with a 44-yard interception return for a TD while freshman running back Nijere Peoples carried the ball 25 times for 82 yards to finish his first season with 994 rushing yards.

“We are very proud of our seniors and the great leadership they provided all year. The defense came up big all game. The 10 points off turnovers were the difference,” Wingate Head Football Coach Joe Reich says.

It was a dominating effort for the Wingate defensive unit. They recorded seven sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, forced six fumbles and recovered one of them.

The leader of the defense that night was Cardell Rawlings. He had 8 tackles, 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble.

Offensively, the Bulldogs did just enough to win. Wingate had no turnovers and scored a touchdown and a field goal in their two trips to the red zone.

To start the game, freshman Ra’Quan Simmons returned the kickoff 51 yards. His return set up Wingate’s only offensive touchdown, a 17-yard strike from Shaw Crocker to Mason Flynt.

Following Mattison’s pick-six, Tusculum fumbled on their next possession. Wingate took advantage of the miscue, as redshirt freshman placekicker McLean Robertson nailed a 38-yard field goal to conclude the first half scoring, giving the Bulldogs a 16-0 lead at halftime.

In a scoreless third quarter, Tusculum missed two field goals attempts, one of which was blocked by Robbie Wallace from 24 yards out with 1:36 left in the frame. Finally, Tusculum scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout.

With the win, Wingate advances to the NCAA Division II football playoffs this Saturday. They will play on the road against West Georgia at 12 noon.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Bulldogs win big over Mars Hill on Homecoming

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

The Wingate University Bulldogs scored the fourth-most points in program history on Oct. 20, racing out to a 44-14 halftime lead en route to a 58-21 victory over visiting Mars Hill University in front of a capacity crowd on Homecoming weekend at Irwin Belk Stadium in South Atlantic Conference football action. Wingate wins its third straight, improving to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the SAC.

“It was a very physical, aggressive game for us. We did a really nice job of getting after them physically,” Wingate Head Football Coach Joe Reich says.

As a team, Wingate piled up a season-high 534 yards, including 284 on the ground, collected 5 turnovers and scored 7 touchdowns in as many trips to the red zone.

Quarterback Shaw Crocker and running back Nijere Peoples led the Bulldog offense. Crocker was 13-for-15 for 223 yards and 2 TDs and ran for a TD in the second half. Peoples had career highs of 33 carries, 166 yards and 2 TDs.

Cardell Rawlings and Joe Kelly led the Wingate defensive unit. Rawlings had 9 tackles while Kelly registered 8 tackles.

Despite the lopsidedness of the score, Wingate trailed only 7-0. But it only took 4 plays for the Bulldogs to tie it up and after a bad snap on a punt that resulted in a safety by Floyd Louallen to make it 9-7 Bulldogs, Wingate was off and running with quick drives from that point forward.

Wingate returns home for Senior Day against the Tusculum Pioneers on Saturday, Nov. 10 after two straight weeks on the road at Newberry and Limestone, respectively.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Wingate drops heartbreaker to Florida Tech, 26-23 after mishandling extra point

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

The Wingate University Bulldogs looked to be on their way to tying the game in the final minute of regulation on Sept. 29, but a failed PAT returned for a score finished off a 26-23 victory for visiting Florida Tech. With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 2-3 on the year.

“We had some opportunities and had a nice drive there at the end. Unfortunate to miss the chance to tie it up, it’s something we’ve done a million times so it’s unfortunate,” Wingate Head Football Coach Joe Reich says.

JT Stokes and Nijere People’s led the offensive unit for the Bulldogs. For the second straight week, Stokes had more than 100 yards receiving, with seven catches for 185 yards and a touchdown in the loss. People’s had 23 carries for a career-high 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Robbie Wallace and Auntrell Mack led with 11 tackles each. Kam Johnson also had nine tackles.

After a scoreless first quarter, Wingate took a 10-7 lead at halftime on a 20-yard field goal by Mclean Robertson. Then after a nearly scoreless third quarter, the final 17 minutes were wild.

Peoples scored his second TD of the day to give Wingate a 17-14 lead on the last play of the quarter. After a Florida Tech touchdown and field goal to make it 24-17 in favor of the visitors, Wingate drove down the field in hopes of redeeming themselves for the missed opportunities that would have tied the game against Lenoir-Rhyne the week before. For the second straight week, they couldn’t muster a tie and a chance to win it in overtime.

Crocker hit Stokes for the touchdown to make it 24-23, but the snap on the PAT bounced and the desperate attempt at a kick was blocked. Florida Tech then proceeded to return it for the game-clinching 2 points and after a failed onside kick, the Panthers had secured their victory.

Wingate is on the road this Saturday, traveling to UNC Pembroke for a 7 p.m. start.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Wingate falls to Lenoir-Rhyne 31-24 at home after furious second-half rally comes up short

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears jumped out to a 31-7 lead in the third quarter, then withstood a furious rally from Wingate to hang on for a 31-24 victory. The Bears improve to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the SAC, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-2 overall and 0-2 in league play.

“We’ve got a lot of fight, we’ve got good players, we just have to execute more consistently. There were plays throughout the game, in the first half in particular, that we just set ourselves back. You could feel the momentum change on the sideline in the third quarter and we just started executing better,” Wingate Head Football Coach Joe Reich says.

Some streaks were snapped for the Bulldogs. It’s the first time that Wingate has lost at Irwin Belk Stadium at night. The loss was also Wingate’s first to Lenoir-Rhyne in four years.

Wingate outgained LR 378-353 on the night, although most of those yards came during the rally. “Offensively, we’ve got to get it going early on and not wait to until the second half to get things started. But I love the fight, I love the energy, I love this group of guys. They’re high character guys and in the locker I just want to tell them, I love that fight, keep that up, let’s just execute consistently and we’ll be all right,” Reich says.

There were two key plays in the closing moments of the game when Wingate was trying to tie the game. The first play was a goal-line stand by the Bears on the one yard line. Had Wingate scored and kicked the extra point, the game would have been tied and could have gone to overtime or the Bulldogs could have had a chance to win it outright.

The other critical play was an interception by Wingate with three minutes left. This came just after the Bulldogs had recovered a fumble shortly after the goal line stand. Wingate got the ball back for one final shot at the tie and overtime, but couldn’t capitalize.

JT Stokes and Shaw Crocker led offensively for the Bulldogs. Stokes had seven catches for a career-high 186 yards and two touchdowns while Crocker completed 14-of-27 passes for a career-high 288 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score.

“With JT it’s about the execution, but it’s also the leadership on the field as well. It’s the things you don’t see, the rallying the troops, it’s his presence out there. He’s a great leader,” Reich says.

Defensively, Cardell Rawlings had a huge game to lead Wingate. Rawlings piled up 14 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two QB hurries. Rawlings has 11.5 TFLs and 8.0 sacks on the year.

“There’s nobody more passionate. We talk about having a fierce desire, and that encapsulates Cardell Rawlings, just a fierce desire to win, a fierce desire to be the best and a fierce desire to prepare. It’s all emotion and intensity and passion, that’s who he is as a person, so it was good to see him have another big game,” Reich says.

Wingate is at home again next week, hosting Florida Tech at 3:00 p.m.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Students Respond to Change in ‘Animal Crackers’ Packaging

Matthew Myers, Staff Writer

After 116 years, animals on the animal cracker box are roaming free. Nabisco changed the packing for their product after a successful lobbying attempt from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Nabisco claims the changes were made so that the packaging has a fresh look.

A question being asked by many is whether or not this marketing strategy will be effective. At Wingate University, 20 students were asked their opinion on this topic, and if it would persuade them to buy less or more animal crackers.

16 out of the 20 students did not care about the branding switch. But while most people didn’t care, the opinions of the ones that did were fiery.

According to Carly Heins, a junior, “I am so happy the animals are free! Who doesn’t love seeing animals freed from their cages? The changes made by Nabisco make me more inclined to buy animals crackers”.

On the flip side, Jake Dudzik, a sophomore, “I condemn the changes made by Nabisco. Nabisco changed a 116-year-old iconic label because an animal activist company begged them to. To see a mega-corporation fold to the request of an activist group is absolutely pathetic”.

Dudzik goes on explain “This change boils down to political correctness. That is something the majority of Americans are fed up with. I do not foresee this strategy garnering Nabisco any substantial revenue”.

At least on  Wingate’s campus, the repackaging does not seem like it will have a large effect on sales. Almost everyone stated that they would continue to buy animal crackers at the same rate they buy them now. While there is speculation about positive long-term effects, only time will tell if this change will pay off.   

Edited By, Rachael Robinson

Campus Dining Welcomes Changes for 2018

Aaliyah Parson, Staff Writer

W.T Harris Dining Hall welcomes new and returning students after making several new improvements over the summer. The caf has made renovations that not only improve the quality of service to students but the dining experience as well. Accommodations were also made during the renovations for the large influx of new students.

One of the many noticeable changes is the relocation of the pizza station. A new salad prep and fresh fruit station were also added as well as a new Yogurt and Dessert station and two new beverage stations.

David Penny, general manager of Aramark, stated his goal when making improvements was, “To overall improve dining. The goal is long reaching. I have a five-year plan of continuously improving.”

While making these improvements Penny’s biggest challenge was time, “Never enough time where students aren’t on campus. Everything has to be done in short time periods.”

Many students occupied campus over the summer during summer camp and training. While returning students have watched these changes unfold, what Penny has in store next is sure to be a surprise.

Penny exclaims, “The amount of improvements we have planned over the next five years will not be recognizable to anyone right now!”

Edited by Rachael Robinson

Pushing New Boundaries at Wingate University

Savanna Harris, Staff Writer

The start of your college journey can come across as daunting. In most cases, everything is new. New city, new people, the list goes on.

From moving into a space filled with unfamiliar faces to hoping that you don’t walk into the wrong room on your first day of classes, it can all seem rather intimidating.

No one knows this to be true more than the 933 new members of the freshman class of 2022 here at Wingate. With orientation long over and classes beginning more than two weeks ago now, they have gotten a firsthand look at college life.

Freshmen Kayden Wilson and Hailey McCarty were both eager to share their thoughts.

Overall, the general consensus seemed to be that, so far, college is great but definitely a far cry from high school.

According to Hailey, “It’s very… different from the life that I am used to. I’ve never had this amount of freedom before. There’s definitely been a learning curve as I’ve figured things out.”

On the other hand, Kayden went as far as to say, “Honestly, college, in my opinion, is amazing. Personally, I thought I would end up being homesick, but I took Ruth’s (one of the Orientation leaders) advice when she said to get involved and have loved every second on this campus!”

Getting involved in your new community can be one of the best ways to become more connected to it. Along with potentially opening up new opportunities, it allows for the chance to connect with people on an individual level.

“I am a part of the Common Ground worship ministry here on campus, as a singer,” Hailey said. “It’s been really cool meeting other people who are into the same things that I am through that program. I’m also thinking about joining the Psychology Club, but I haven’t fully decided yet.”

Another way to meet new people, although this one isn’t quite so voluntary, is living in a dorm for the first time. Hailey and Kayden are thankfully enjoying their new living situations.

Kayden said, “I love my roomies and my suitemates across the hall! We have an open door policy and it makes me feel a lot closer with them.” It remains true that living in that close of quarters with people can cause friendships to form extremely quickly.

All in all, let’s face it, being a freshman can be scary. But, despite occasional homesickness or a particularly stressful class or assignment, college is the adventure of a lifetime. It may not seem like it at times, but running through a downpour to make your 8 a.m. will be worth it in the end. There might even be time for the occasional Netflix binge, too.

Edited by Rachael Robinson