Emporia State getting ready for home opener


EMPORIA (KSNT) – The Hornets get to play football in front of their home fans for the first time in two years Saturday.

A lot changes in two years. Almost every Emporia State football player returned for the 2021 season. Freshmen also came in, and some players changed positions.

It all worked in the Hornets’ favor in the season opener, a 38-7 win at Northeastern State Sept. 4, 2021. Head coach Garin Higgins knows he can’t rely on momentum carrying over into the next week’s game, though.

“I’ve been doing this for so long, sometimes [the momentum] doesn’t carry,” Higgins said. “Regardless of the previous week, you take each week the same and you prepare the same.”

Central Oklahoma is 1-0 after its 24-20 home win over Missouri Western. Quarterback Stephon Brown is second in the MIAA in total offense after one game with 126 yards rushing and 189 passing.

“They have very talented players,” Higgins said. “Like I said, they have a really talented quarterback. He’s big and physical. He throws a nice ball. We’re going to have to be disciplined, and we’re going to need to make sure that we’ve got to be able to contain him.”

At Northeastern State, Emporia State limited the River Hawks to 22 yards on 28 plays in the first two quarters. Braden Gleason finished his first querterback start 28-40 for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Dalton Cowan had five catches for 65 yards in the new S-back position.

The defense put on a Broadway-worthy show. Dawson Hammes finished with eight tackles, seven solo, along with three tackles for loss. Jace McDown added six tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss.

“We all had the chemistry we were looking forward to having, and we were well-prepared for that game,” Linebacker Gee Stanley said.

Emporia State and UCO kickoff at 7 p.m.

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