The Warriors started their 2016 campaign with a little bit of payback as they defeated the Northwood Timberwolves 28-3 in Midland on Sept. 3.
“I'm glad that we came out against a team that we lost to last year and played outstanding,” said sophomore quarterback Donavan Zezula. “You can’t start any better than a win.”
Last year, the Timberwolves halted a two game Warrior win streak with a 31-13 win in Midland. The box score showed that the Warriors’ offense just couldn’t find the ned zone as they were outgained 442-335 in total offense yards and two touchdowns to zero on the ground.
But, Zezula said this payback win “for sure” set the tone for the season. On the fourth play of the first quarter, senior WR Jamel Hicks scored a touchdown off a 75-yard pass from Zezula.
“We knew we were going to feed [Northwood] into the run early and try to hit them over the top and it worked! I knew that we were going to go over the top and we were going to succeed and score early on,” said Hicks.
The passing attack worked well for the Warriors. It even gave a chance for freshman slot receiver Darece Roberson to make his first and only collegiate catch a 35 yard TD.
“I dropped [the ball] the first time,” Roberson said. “ Donovan looked at me like ‘You got this’, coach called my play again, I ran my run and I scored a touchdown. It was very exciting.”
In week two, the Warriors didn't keep the momentum going. The team lost their second game of the season #5 ranked Ashland University.
“I missed a lot of key opportunities”, said Zezula. “I expected more, and the team did as well.”
Coach Winters said the Warriors started off well, similarly to the Northwood game. They were first on the scoreboard off a 37-yard hook-up between Hicks and Zezula and entered halftime with a 12-6 lead.
“We went into the second half and made mistakes early, and you can't make mistakes against good football teams,” Winters said.
Ashland outscored WSU 30-13 in the half and never relinquished the lead.
Despite the 36-25 loss against Ashland, Roberson said he still feels good going into the first home game against Lake Erie College on the Sept. 17. Winters said in order to farewell, the team will play consistently for both halves and try to limit their mistakes.
The Storm will enter Tom Adams Field 0-2 after losing in OT to Northern Michigan and suffering a 55-7 blowout loss to #3 Grand Valley last week. The Storm relinquished 349 yards on the ground against the Lakers, which could bode well the Warriors’ run heavy offense.
In his last season with the Warriors, Hicks said he shares Roberson’s optimism.
“My thing going in as a senior is getting the young guys under my wing and letting them know things are gonna go wrong but it's going to be okay if we stay together as brothers and have faith in the coach,” Hicks said.
Teammates Roberson, Hicks, and Zezula all said they share the same enthusiasm said Hicks.
“I’m looking forward to this first home game,” said Hicks. “I’m looking forward to seeing the fans out there pumped supporting the team.”
The Warriors kickoff at 6 p.m. against Lake Erie at Tom Adams field on Sept. 17. Wayne State athletics will be looking to break last year’s night game attendance record from last year.