By Kelley Anne Stuetz
SC Contributing Writer
Lightning delayed East Stroudsburg University football’s 2015 season home opener against LIU Post for forty minutes on Thursday, Sept. 4, temporarily containing the excitement of the Warrior community.
From the viewers watching at home on Blue Ridge Cable to the students in the Eiler-Martin Stadium stands, ESU football fans were anxious to see how the Warriors would perform. With constant back-and-forth play throughout the game, the crowd did not know what to expect in the outcome.
Although ESU led LIU Post in the first quarter 6-0, LIU Post came out on top at the end of the game. The final score was 41-40 LIU Post.
Redshirt senior quarterback Matt Soltes threw for 347 yards and gained 366 yards of total offense for ESU.
Redshirt junior tailback Robert Healy ran for 90 yards, including a 75-yarder in the fourth quarter, and had 7 catches for 121 yards.
Redshirt senior wide receiver Jon Schnaars had 6 catches for 120 yards.
Freshman kicker Nicolas Ruiz made four field goals, an ESU freshman record, with three in the first half and a 30-yarder in the third quarter.
ESU took a 26-22 lead late in the third quarter on a 13-yard TD run by freshman tailback James Bell, and surged to a 33-22 advantage on a 1-yard TD run by redshirt senior tailback Gerald Van De Cruz (13 carries, 64 yards), his second TD of the game, with 12:31 remaining.
This back-and-forth battle resulted in the final score of LIU Post 41, ESU 40. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Warriors, but this was a non-conference game.
Head coach Denny Douds has been coaching ESU football for 50 years. He was an assistant coach for 8 years (1966-1973), and he has been the head coach for 42 years. Douds has coached in 430 games, which is an NCAA Division II record. He also holds the PSAC record with 250 career wins, which ranks him third in NCAA Division II history.
“Part of their preparation is to be able to execute, and execute to the best of their abilities in a consistent fashion that allows the entire organization to be successful,” said Douds before the game Thursday night.
ESU football’s coaching staff continues to grow and keep legendary alumni on staff. Mike Terwilliger (Class of 1978) was a four-year starter at quarterback (1974-1977). He has been the offensive coordinator since 2001.
This past summer, ESU football added another legendary Terwilliger to its staff.
Jimmy Terwilliger, son of Mike Terwilliger, joined ESU football’s coaching staff. Jimmy Terwilliger received the 2005 Harlon Hill Award and still holds multiple ESU quarterback records. He graduated from ESU in 2007 and has helped coach local high schools to reach new successes since.
Of the new Terwilliger father-son coaching duo, Douds said, “Well that’s an adventure, particularly (because) one’s on one side of the ball and the other is on the other, and we go to some of our different aspects of practice, like we go to group work with defense and offense, passing game against the defenders and that’s always a little exciting. And it’s a neat circumstance that we’re confronted with, and we’re glad we have the situation.”
ESU will play a road game at Slippery Rock University on Saturday night, Sept. 12. This game was picked to be the NCAA Division II Showcase Game of the Week. It will be the first PSAC game of the 2015 season for the Warriors.
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