Tag Archives: Football

Wingate moves to 2-0 with win over Fayetteville State

Brendan Shriver, Staff Writer

Wingate jumped out to a 27-6 lead en route to a wire-to-wire 27-13 victory over Fayetteville State Saturday night at Irwin Belk Stadium. This is the fifth straight year the Bulldogs started a season 2-0.

“It was a good win. Fayetteville State was a much bigger, more physical team than what we faced last week. It was a step up in physicality, which will help us heading to next week’s game,” Wingate Head Football Coach Joe Reich says.

In his second career start, redshirt freshman quarterback Shaw Crocker connected on 19-of-33 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns, with his primary receiver being BJ Muckelvene, who caught seven passes for 122 yards and a TD. Crocker now has 5 touchdown passes through two games this season. “Shaw continues to take steps forward, both in practices and during games, which is good to see,” Reich says.

Joe Kelly led the Wingate defense with 13 tackles on the night. Cardell Rawlings also contributed with two sacks and Juan Pagan-Gonzalez had three tackles and an interception.

But perhaps the biggest factor in Wingate’s victory was the special teams. “Our punter was a difference maker,” Reich says. “He got us out of jams. The kicker did a nice job as well. It was also good to see Ronnie Procopio break off a big return.”

Chris Birozes averaged 44 yards on six punts, with a long of 55 and another punt downed at the two-yard line. McLean Robertson was two-for-two on field goals, connecting on a 31-yarder and 42-yarder while also going three-for-three in PATs. Procopio had a 48-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter.

Wingate is back in action next Saturday, hitting the road for the first time this season and opening league play, traveling to Carson-Newman for a 7 p.m. start.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Shaw Crocker excels as Bulldogs signal-caller in first collegiate start

Heath Barringer, Staff Writer

Irwin Belk Stadium was the scene for the Wingate Football team on Aug. 30 as they opened the 2018 season on a Thursday night. Fresh off a 9-2 record and a SAC Championship in 2017, the Bulldogs look to repeat this year with a new quarterback under center. Shaw Crocker, the redshirt freshman from Greenville, S.C. made his debut for the Bulldogs and made it a memorable one.  

Shaw is an education major with a focus on math education, and with that, it brings pretty tough calculus classes that he brought up when I had the chance sit down and chat with him before the game. He said, “Having my redshirt year really helped me get settled into college with classes and all and not having the pressure of playing right away so I could get right in the classroom to start off was nice.”  

He also attributed to how comfortable with the Bulldog offense he was compared to his redshirt year where he did not play by saying, “I looked at it as a chance to grow and grow closer with some of my teammates. Our quarterback room is pretty tight and having that year to get comfortable really helped.”  

Shaw had a great football mind before he came to Wingate and this comes from having a father who has been in high school coaching for 30 plus years. Both of his parents attended Newberry College where Crocker almost ended up attending himself before making the decision to bring his talents to Wingate.

He talked about some nerves before his first start like anyone would, but he also talked about knowing the team had his back and trusting in the system. He was just ready to have some fun and play ball. And on opening night for the Bulldogs, that is exactly what he did.  

After the game I had a chance to catch up with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Long for Wingate. He summed up what everyone was thinking by just saying, “I thought it went really well.”  

Crocker ended the night throwing for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14-22 from the pocket.  He also had a rushing touchdown on a nifty little keeper from the 2-yard line. He thanks his teammates for his performance and personally his center Hunter Jolly, who made his first career start as a redshirt freshman as well on Thursday.  

Jolly had confidence in his quarterback by saying, “I knew he was going to light it up before we ever stepped out on to the field.”  Crocker was happy with is first performance and I’m sure the rest of OneDog Nation was too.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Bulldogs start 2018 in dominant fashion, shutout Johnson C. Smith 36-0

Brendan Shriver, Sports Editor

In the first-ever Thursday night home football game at Irwin Belk Stadium, Wingate recorded 9 sacks and held the Johnson C. Smith University Golden Bulls to 123 yards in a 36-0 shutout.

“It was pretty cool to be part of the first Thursday night home game,” Wingate Head Football Coach Joe Reich said. “It was a good win and the defense played lights out. They played a great game and we are excited about what they did and we were hoping that would be the case.

The Bulldogs were up-and-down for much of the second half offensively after leading 10-0 at halftime.

In his first start, junior running back Domineke McNeill had 155 yards on 18 carries, including a 67-yard run. In his first appearance as a Bulldog, redshirt freshman quarterback Shaw Crocker went 14-for-22 with 201 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for a touchdown. Defensively, Davion Washington had a team-high eight tackles while Gabe Price got three tackles for loss and two sacks.

The Bulldogs are back in action Saturday, hosting Fayetteville State at 6 p.m.

Edited by Rachael Robinson and Brendan Shriver

Football to host seven home games this fall

Crystal Fuller, Staff Writer

Wingate University Athletics Director Steve Poston and Head Football Coach Joe Reich announced the 2018 Wingate Football schedule in March. For the first time since 2002, Wingate University’s football team will have the upperhand of playing seven home games.

Coach Reich explained how the Bulldogs got lucky, “When we look for games sometimes we take what we can get. Last year we had a bye week but we also played the first two games on the road so we only had four home games in the regular season. When the scheduled flipped we immediately had six home games,” said Reich.

Coach Reich also said that,“Florida Tech really needed a game and was willing to come up here and play us at home so that’s how we got to seven. Florida Tech is a top quality out-of-conference opponent who will be a great new challenge. We know UNC Pembroke will be tough as well.”

The Bulldogs have played six home games on eight occasions, the most recent being in 2016. The Bulldogs will play a senior college school-record seven home games, beginning with a Thursday, August 30 contest versus local rival Johnson C. Smith at Irwin Belk Stadium and John R. Martin Field (7 p.m. start time).

“We are looking forward to opening on a Thursday night,” said Reich. “This will be a nice change up…having seven home games will be a good thing for us as well.”

Wingate will see many benefits from the seven home games and has many plans in store. The Bulldogs will host their annual special events throughout the 2018 home schedule including Church Youth Day, Patriots’ Day and Tailgating for the Troops. These events will influence larger crowds just as last year when the Bulldogs sold-out the first night game to ever be hosted by Wingate.

“The best thing about having seven home games would be that we wouldn’t have to travel as much plus it will be more fun for the school,” said Domineke McNeill, a sophomore running back. “Hearing the crowd pushes us more to be more physical and make more plays but for the other team they tend to get scared and fold.”

General admission season tickets range from $40 for adults and $20 for non-Wingate students. Single game tickets are $12 for adult and $8 for non-Wingate students. For more ticket or schedule information go to www.wingatebulldogs.com. We hope you join us this year as we continue to make history!

Edited by Brendan Shriver

Carolina Panther Game Days holds Tradition Unlike Any Other

Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer

Since the year 1996 when the fall season hits the Carolinas, residents of Charlotte and surrounding communities will gather inside the 75,412-seat Bank of America Stadium to enjoy a chill afternoon of Carolina Panthers football. Bank of America Stadium is a popular destination for fans from all over the region, including college students who are looking for a great time.

Students from UNC Charlotte, Wingate University, Queens University of Charlotte, Belmont Abbey College, Catawba College and other institutions from around the area can come take a break from their studies to watch classic NFL football game. While many fans buy a ticket, park and walk straight into the stadium, other football fanatics form their own game day traditions.

One notable, classic Sunday tradition is tailgating before a game. Fans gather with their friends and family in parking lots to grill food, have some drinks, listen to music and socialize before entering the stadium. Other Panthers fans may have a favorite restaurant in Uptown Charlotte they like to visit before every game.

Being a student at Wingate University and not having much money to spend can be difficult to be able to afford a ticket for the game. Ticket prices for National Football League games are very expensive, especially for decent seats in the stadium. Despite my father and I being Patriot fans, we enjoy going to an occasional Panthers game together.

NFL football is enjoyable to watch no matter if your favorite team is out on the field or not. About twice a year during the fall season, my father comes to visit from Raleigh to spend time with me and see a Panthers game.

Uptown Charlotte is one of my favorite places and it is always fun to experience the atmosphere on a game day. My father and I have always shared a special bond with sports, so we tend to make the most of every opportunity that we have the chance to get together.

My dad and I enjoy eating at the big Carolina Ale House in Uptown Charlotte before every game we have the opportunity to attend. It is only a few blocks away from the stadium and it has a great atmosphere for sports fans. Courtyard Hooligans is another cool joint as well.

panthers_lair
Photo source: Carolina Panthers Fanzone page

There are multiple fun aspects to the Carolina Panthers game day experience. The Panthers Lair is a popular game day spot for fans to get them pumped up before kick-off. The lair is a free, pregame festivity open to the public that features interactive games, sponsor giveaways, food trucks and a DJ.

For younger fans, the team offers “Panthers in the Park” which is a pregame interactive area featuring hands-on football drills, meeting Panthers cheerleaders and the mascot. In addition, there is Sir Purr’s Play Den where kids can play on an artificial turf field and play many other football-related games. I used to enjoy these different activities when I went to Panthers games as a kid.

Students enjoy making the short drive up East Independence Boulevard with a group of friends to enjoy a game and relieve all the stress from school in one fun day. During NFL football season, Panthers games is the place to be for college students all around the surrounding Union and Mecklenburg county areas.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Wingate football finishes 8-3, takes 2nd place in SAC

End of Football Season, the Start of Prepping for next Season

Tariah Harrell, Staff Writer

Coach Joe Reich and the Wingate Bulldogs came up short in the South Atlantic Conference championship game on Nov. 12 against the Newberry Wolves 22-27.

Wingate senior running back Blake Hayes rushed 27 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Hayes ended the 2016 season with 1109 rushing yards.

“It was a tight game,”  Wingate redshirt senior defensive end Andre Foulks said. “Both teams played great, we just fell short. It was an exciting atmosphere to play in”.

“It is frustrating to see your guys work that hard to come up a bit short but again as I get older, it is more the group effort and the team,” Wingate head coach Joe Reich says. “I personally do not carry stuff over from one year to the next; each year is a new team, but there are lessons that we need to take from any experience so we can get better. We need to work on finishing, that is not just from the game. We had a few games that we did not finish strong enough, even in some wins,” Reich mentioned. “I think the returning players will understand that and make that a key goal for next year”.

The Bulldogs finished the season 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. “I would not have change anything about the way the game went,” Reich says. “I think our guys played hard and executed pretty well against a good team. I am not one to really call the fire department over a fire that happened last week, if that makes sense. You learn and you move on”.

In the 2017 season, the Bulldogs will be regaining Lawrence Pittman, Adam Riley lll, Kam Johnson back to the field due to season-ending injuries, along with newcomers. “I am hoping that it won’t be one guy you need to keep an eye on but many as we play great team football,” Reich mentioned. “Between Blake and LP returning, that is a lot of yard ok the ground plus the entire offensive line and tight ends as well. Having Adam back, especially as a kickoff and punt returner will be awesome,”.

“It hurts falling short to something when it is at your fingertips, but I realized that all the seniors I have seen come before did not get this close. I think this team will show later teams how to get the job done,” Andre Foulks says. “I would advise next year’s team to not take any game or team for granted. Hard work will get them back in the same position, but it will be a greater outcome,”.

The Bulldogs has already started post-season lifting striving for greatness. “The outlook for next year is very good,” Reich says. “We return a lot of guys at key spots and where we lose guys, we have some key backups that now need to step up and take over. If we work hard starting NOW, we have a change to be pretty good, but that is all talk until we put in work.”

Edited by: Sara Gunter 

Recent Wingate Grad Transitions through Athletic Dept.

Transitions from Grad to Coaching to Athletic Administration

Jackson Kaplan, Staff Writer

Wingate, N.C.—-Previous Wingate University assistant football coach Max Wolfe began his first year as a member of the WU Athletic Administrative team in the fall of 2016. Wolfe spent the 2015 Bulldog football season on head coach Joe Reich‘s staff as an assistant coach.

“The transition has been pretty seamless for me,” Wolfe says. “Thankfully with knowing everyone in the athletic department, it has made the transition much smoother. Michelle Caddigan and Courtney Callahan have been there to help me and have my back. It has really helped me out.”

Wolfe currently serves as the Administrative Assistant for Athletic Business Operations in the Wingate athletic department. The transition was not an easy choice for Wolfe to leave the game of football, but felt it was the best decision to move on to his next endeavor.

“I left football back in March right after the recruiting period,” Wolfe says. “After that, I hung around for a little while and could not figure out what I wanted to do. Then, the administration job opened up and I spoke with Michelle Caddigan about it. I felt like it was the best fit for me and a way to get my first start in this business. The athletic administration is something which has always interested me. This was a terrific opportunity for me to get some experience and be able to remain at Wingate.”

Wolfe is a 2015 graduate of Wingate University with a Criminal Justice major. He spent four seasons as a student assistant coach for the Bulldog football team. During this period, Wingate won a combined 20 games and the ‘Dogs finished with a 6-5 overall record in the 2015 campaign when Wolfe was a member of the full-time staff. Wolfe reminisces on his time with the football program and he remembers the moments which made his job special.

“My favorite memory as a coach was beating the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears last season at their place,” Wolfe says. “It was one of the best wins I have ever had the chance to experience; however, I think all of my experiences in football whether good or bad were positive to me in some way. Being a member of the football coaching staff helped me grow as a person and allowed me to gain valuable experience. I started out as an equipment manager and then worked my way up as an assistant coach after I graduated. Coach Reich has been an amazing person to me. He has always had my back and I will always have his as well.”

Prior to joining the Bulldog family, Wolfe attended Hunter Huss High School in Gastonia. While in high school, he gained early experience as a part of an athletic administrative team when he served as a student assistant to the athletic director Terry Radford. Wolfe continued to display his impressive versatility when he was selected to be a student athletic trainer for the 2011 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, a high school football all-star game held in Charlotte showcasing the top scholastic talent from North and South Carolina.

Wolfe has also previously taken on another vital role at Wingate University when he served as a Campus Safety officer. His multiple experiences through football and in the Wingate community leaves the Bulldog Athletic Administration in very capable hands for years to come.

“My ultimate goal is to stay here at Wingate,” Wolfe says. “Having the chance to work in athletics is a dream come true for me. I would love to stay here, while working my way up the administrative ladder by gaining more responsibilities and opportunities. I love Wingate University and I want to be here as long as I possibly can.”

Edited by: Sara Gunter