By Crystal Smith
It was a forgettable Homecoming game for ESU football on Saturday.
With alumni, faculty, family, and students filling the stadium creating a sea of red, white, and black, their Warriors fell to Kutztown by a score of 31-16.
In a scoreless first quarter, ESU’s defense was standing their ground against Kutztown offense.
In the second quarter, ESU defense held strong only allowing a Kutztown field goal.
QB Matt Soltes connected with wide receiver Jon Schnaars to give the Warriors a 6-3 lead.
By the end of the second quarter, Kutztown had scored their first touchdown and ESU responded with a 22 yd field goal from kicker Matt Smith to make it a 10-9 game heading into halftime.
During the halftime show, ESU highlighted the football alumni, announced the Homecoming King Chris Smith and Queen Elizabeth Smith Porter, and ESU Warriors Marching Band and Color Guard entertained the crowd with the hard work they have been doing all year.
After the halftime show, ESU stormed the field confident only down one point. It seemed as if each team figured out each other’s defense and both teams were playing well.
As soon as Soltes and the ESU offense started to get down the field for a touchdown, Soltes was sacked and remained on the ground.
With Soltes down, the stadium was quiet as they watched their QB being treated for an apparent shoulder injury.
Still in the third quarter, Kutztown dominated the playing field with 14 unanswered points to extend the lead to 24-9.
It felt as if the team had lost their ambition and everything that could go wrong, did.
With the whistle sounding at the end of the third quarter, the Warriors needed a miracle to push ahead from the absence of Soltes. A replacement for Soltes came in the form of backup QB Bruce Campbell.
With Campbell at the helm for the fourth quarter, things didn’t change much. Chad Barton connected with Kellen Williams to give the Golden Bears a 31-9 lead.
With a little over five minutes left on the clock, Kutztown kicked off to ESU. Joe Welk returned the kick 93 yards to the end zone to make it 31-16.
Unfortunately, Welk’s touchdown just wasn’t enough to bring the Warriors to victory over the Homecoming Weekend as Campbell threw an interception that ended the game.
Some fans in attendance echoed the concern following Soltes’ injury.
“It was a strong first half but once Matt got hurt, I feel like we lost our spirit and drive,” said freshman Sabrina Makkas.
“I usually don’t come to many football games and I was excited to see this one. Even though we lost and made some rookie mistakes, I feel we did our best and I hope the QB a speedy recovery,” says junior Amy Lukac.
With Soltes’ status in question, the Warriors face their most important games of the season in the next few weeks.
Backup quarterback Bruce Campbell is currently listed as the starter for next week’s game.
The Warriors head to Bloomsburg next Saturday for a 1:05 PM kickoff.
The undefeated Huskies are coming off of a 41-10 blowout of previously unbeaten West Chester and are currently ranked No .6 in the country, two spots ahead of their No. 8 ranking last week.
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