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X’s & O’s

The C.W. Post Pioneers will not extend their season past this weekend. Post will not be involved in a PSAC Championship game. There will be no playoffs. And while the Pioneers outscored the Cheyney Wolves last week, the team may have proven why it won’t be in the postseason.

Cheyney is one of the worst teams in Division II. The team hasn’t had a winning season since 1979. Going back to 1995, the Wolves have a cumulative record of 8-161-1. Out of 151 Division II teams, the Wolves have the 134th offense. Any team should be able to stop their offense.

Go back to last week’s game. The Pioneers defeat the Wolves 63-28. Sure nine touchdowns on offense is a great stat but the defense gave up four. One of the problems with the Pioneers this year is the players’ demeanor on defense. There is no consistency from game to game. One week, the defense is all-world. The next, the squad surrenders points and puts the burden on the offense’s shoulders.

So many times this year, the Pioneers have given up easy yards. For the most part, they have been unable to stop their opponent’s rushing attack. This past week against one of the worst offenses in the nation, the Pioneers watched Cheyney run for 314 yards. Through 10 games, the Pioneers have given up 174 rushing yards per game.

Clearly that type of defense is not conducive of a playoff team. There have been so many instances this season where the defense should have or needed to come up big but fell short. As Coach Bryan Collins always points out to me, football has three phases. And while the offense has done well fighting through injuries, the special teams working through its own issues, the defense has not.

Regardless, there is room to grow for C.W. Post. The defense is full of young players. Donovan Edwards has started at cornerback as a true freshman. Sean Smith was having an excellent year before his knee injury and the vast majority of the starting defense will return next year.

But with one more game left against a solid slippery rock team, the Pioneers have an opportunity to reach seven wins and improve their record from last season. They’ll be in line to win as long as they can play a shutdown defense.

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