It seemed in the first half of this season that The Mustangs football team would have a dispiriting return from last year’s COVID-shortened season. Through the first five games they didn’t have a single victory.
The reasons were many, but not hard to see. During the rough patch, Stevenson averaged 2.8 turnovers per game. Once they coughed up the ball, the Mustangs’ defense cleared the way for the opposing team. During the season opener against Johns Hopkins, the guys in the black and silver jerseys allowed 596 yards after 3 turnovers.
In the season’s second game, Stevenson tightened up the ship losing a close contest to RPI, 14-10. They had a better game defensively, allowing only 196 yards, but still could not overcome another 3 turnovers by the offense.
Over the next three games, the football remained a slippery object, at least to Stevenson, as they gave up an additional 8 turnovers in those games.
When the Mustangs’ bye week finally arrived, it was like a blessing.
The Mustangs were clearly productive over their bye week with a dominant shutout performance against Misericordia. The final score was 37-0 and the Stangs only had one turnover, a fumble late in the game.
When asked about the impact turnovers have on their results, Coach Hottle said, “It impacts everything. You can’t give away possessions, it’s just that simple. We spent a lot of time on the bye week working on that stuff and I think we cleaned it up and the results on Saturday showed.”
The Mustangs were hoping to keep their momentum rolling going into homecoming weekend, taking on their conference opponent, Widener. The 6-1 Pride looked scary all season, having an undefeated conference record.
Coach had this to say about the intimidating Widener opponent: “For us, the mindset is always the same. The focus is always on us, always has been on us because we feel like if we go out and play the way we are capable of playing, we can win the football game.” The Mustangs did just that! Quarterback Ryan Sedgwick led them to a 29-24 victory, throwing for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns. For only the second time this season, the Mustangs had no turnovers.
When asked about the mindset of the team heading into homecoming weekend, Coach Hottle said “I do not think there is any quit at all. I think that getting to the bye week and getting some things cleaned up and looking at some things I think we refreshed everybody. I think everybody is excited for the next four weeks.”
The Mustangs looked to keep their momentum heading into an away game at Alvernia. The Golden Wolves did not stand a chance against the red-hot Mustangs. After a forced fumble on the opening drive of the game, the Mustangs drove down the field and punched in a touchdown less than 5 minutes into the game. Alvernia answered with a touchdown, but the defense kept them scoreless for the rest of the game, holding them to only 132 yards The dominant performance on defense consisted of 5 total sacks for a loss of 36 yards. The Golden Wolves could not stop the Mustangs on offense, with the Mustangs producing 426 yards. With this win over Alvernia, the Mustangs have now won 3 straight games, a complete turnaround from the first half of the season.