Every year, every team, there is one thing that is universal in college football. No matter what big game may be coming up at any point of the season, every college football coach will tell you they are only focused on one game, and that is the first game of the year. Never fails. Pretty sure that’s what they teach coaches from pee wee to the pros.
Winston-Salem State’s Kienus Boulware fell right in line with that when we first talked about the 2017 season. The fourth year head coach has a big, potentially historic season ahead of him as he and his team try to become the first CIAA team in over 20 years to win three-straight titles, something that no team at the school has ever done. But, of course, beating UNC-Pembroke was at the front of his mind, and for good reason.
After beating UNCP for his first win back in 2014, his teams had lost back-to-back season openers to it after scoring first in both games. UNCP, a playoff program in 2016, came into the season ranked no. 19 in all of Division II football.
And it wasn’t just the coach or the players who were focused on beating the Braves.
WSSU Chancellor Elwood Robinson spoke to the team two weeks before the season opener and stressed to them why he personally was looking for redemption along with the players in the uniforms.
After a long, grueling camp, game week came quickly as the August 31 opener meant the Rams had to play Thursday. The game was moved up three hours early, starting under the blazing late afternoon sun as they prepared to try to put together a complete game against an opponent that appeared to have their number.
Speaking of the heat, we have to give a big shoutout to the sponsor for this episode, Can’t Wait To Hydrate. Everyone knows drinking water is good for you, but I learned this week that not all water is created equally. That means it doesn’t all replenish, renew and revitalize the same, which can make the difference when fighting fatigue or heat like the Rams did in their opener. My friend Greg Norton can tell you more so be sure to click the link above.
Of course, by now you know the end result of the game. WSSU won 34-31, tossing the proverbial monkey off its back and starting the season 1-0 for the first time since 2014. But as with every game, there are defining moments that fans don’t get to see. Thanks to WSSU allowing access, you’ll get to see which players ignited the fire that fueled the win, including senior center Josh Wormley who helped Kerrion Moore rush for 231 yards and three scores in the win and challenged his teammates on the sidelines.
We’d also like to send a special shoutout to 1892 Crew for sponosoring Meet The Rams last week. Get your Chicken Day tickets at eventbrite now!