Bucs primed for Bulldogs

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   After a 29-14 loss to Appalachian State, things were looking down for the East Tennessee State Buccaneers this week. However, the Bucs travel to Charleston, South Carolina for a matchup with The Citadel Bulldogs, having won the past three contests.
   "Appalachian came in and played with a lot of emotion like we knew they would," said ETSU coach Paul Hamilton. "You can't give that good a team as many opportunities as we did. They took advantage of those and knocked the ball in the end zone. Our kids played hard. I wish we wouldn't have put our defense on such a short field."
   It was a hard contest for the Bucs, but they must bounce back defensively against a good offensive program like The Citadel, who is bouncing back after a 34-30 loss at Wyoming.
   Bulldog quarterback Jeff Klein threw for 335 yards against Wyoming, leading his team to an impressive 92 points in their past three games despite the three losses. He is joined by Nehemiah Broughton who carried the ball 33 times for 175 yards against the Cowboys.
   "Their quarterback (Jeff Klein) is one of the best passers in I-AA. He is playing well at quarterback. Scooter Johnson makes this a different team. This is an outstanding offensive football team."
   Citadel coach Ellis Johnson believes his team will be ready for the matchup this Saturday.
   "We're coming off a number of frustrating losses," said Johnson. "We've come a long way but right now we can,t seem to close the door. We're probably one of the better 1-4 teams in our league."
   "East Tennessee State will probably be as good a defensive team as we'll see in our league. The challenge this week is if our defense shows up and plays well enough to give us a chance to win the game.
   The Citadel has lost a fourth-quarter lead four times in the past four games, and it's been tough on their record. However, with a lot of youth in their program the Bulldogs have continued to improve each week.
   "There's no question we've improved as a program," Johnson said. "We're way beyond where I thought we would be. We have two seniors and a former basketball player on defense and two seniors on offense, the quarterback and the center.
   "We should've expected some of these things that youth exploits. We have lost a fourth-quarter lead four times in the last four games. We're not making the plays right at the end. I'm very proud of what our players have accomplished. I just wish we had more to show for it."
   The game is a homecoming for Buccaneer coach Paul Hamilton, who grew up outside of Charleston.
   "I grew up there, my dad coached there; I played some high school football there and played there while I was in college," he said. "The Citadel people are special to me: Ellis Johnson, Les Robinson. I wish those guys the best each year. I just hope we can go down there and be the best team that we can be."
   East Tennessee State will need some big time plays from quarterback Jatavis Sanders this week, as the game looks poised to present a high-scoring affair. Cecil Moore has been plagued with a few difficult weeks this season and it's hurt his squad. However, he has steadily improved each week to match up to his potential.
   This week's contest means a lot to the Bucs, as it is poised to present a big key to a decent finish in the Southern Conference. But the Bulldogs are looking to advance their improvement and pull out a big win over ETSU.