The Saint Augustine’s University football team is under new management under head coach Howard Feggins and, while they have not won a game yet, Coach Feggins believes the team is learning and can improve. The field was renovated with new synthetic turf and better leveling. The Falcons will use the new surface for the first time during the Homecoming game at 1 p.m. on Oct. 7 when they face the Fayetteville State University Broncos.
In the Falcons’ last game on Sept. 30 against the Virginia Union University Panthers, they lost 47-7 and the coach says that their opponents exposed a weakness that needs to be fixed. “We have to have better quarterback play in order to win games like that,” Coach Feggins said. “Our defense was put in terrible positions. Union had to beat us throwing the ball – and they did.”
The loss to Virginia Union dropped the Falcons’ record to 0-5. But Coach Feggins believes the team will be better down the last stretch of five games than they were in the first five. He noted that the team has not been able to practice on their home field because of new turf being installed at the George Williams Athletic Complex, preventing the team from full-speed practices.
The coach added: “Our defenders get beat not jumping in the air, guys are getting hurt and we haven’t practiced – stuff like that.”
The football field was renovated with new synthetic turf and better leveling. The Falcons will use the new surface for the first time during the Homecoming game at 1 p.m. on Oct. 7 when they face the Fayetteville State University Broncos.
The Falcons dropped their first game on Sept. 2 against nationally ranked Lenoir-Rhyne (ranked #15 in the nation at the time) by a score of 45-7. The Bears dominated the Falcons, allowing them to get only three first downs and 52 total yards.
The Falcons headed into their second game on Sept. 9 trying to bounce back against Elizabeth City University. The Falcons’ defense put up a much stronger showing, holding Elizabeth City to 13 points, but their offense was not able to put any points on the board at all.
In their first home game on Sept. 16 against the Trojans of Virginia State, the Falcons were blown out 55-12 in a game in which the offense didn’t score until the fourth quarter.
The Falcons showed more fight Sept. 23 when they travelled to Bowie State and almost came away with a victory in a 10-7 slugfest.
The Falcons defense has emerged as a bright spot; it is first in the CIAA in terms of the amount of plays it has on the field compared to its offense. “Our defense has been playing extremely well,” Coach Feggins said. “We have new coaches who have gotten them on the right path and make sure they’re prepared each week.”
One of those coaches is Daniel Engman. While Engman has been at Saint Augustine’s for four years, he is new to his position as defensive line assistant.
“I know most of the players personally,” he said. “I always try to make the players better by seeing how they react to situations. I’m always trying to find ways to be a better coach.”
Also new to the staff is Donald Manley, the offensive line coach, whose coaching experience includes D1 down to D3. “I’m trying to get the players better,” he said. “All the injuries and the adversity that we’re going through will only make us a better team. Football is just a game we’re trying to build a culture here and that doesn’t start just on the field; it starts in the classroom.”
The Falcons Homecoming game against the Fayetteville State Broncos will be as daunting challenge; they are the defending CIAA champions and last year embarrassed the Falcons 54-0. The Broncos have the fifth-ranked defense in the CIAA, led by senior defensive back Dylan Moores who is #5 in interceptions in the CIAA.
The Broncos are Coach Feggins former team. “It would be great to see those guys that I coach last year and helped develop,” he said. “But, at the end of the day we’re all professionals and we all want to win games and I want to win this game on Homecoming day.”
Kickoff is at 1 pm in the George Williams’s Athletic Complex. The game is $35 for the public but free for Saint Augustine’s University students. For more information, visit www.st-aug.edu/sau-homecoming/
— Brenton Chapple