Bees expect to build from playoff loss


Share
Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2012, 7:42 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com
St. Ambrose defensive back Jordan Bell was hoping to win West Coast bragging rights on Saturday in the NAIA Football Championship Series playoff game between his Fighting Bees and the Southern Oregon University Raiders.

"It's very disappointing,'' he said of the season-ending 45-28 loss at Brady Street Stadium. "I'm from California and actually got recruited to both schools. I chose St. Ambrose because I thought it was a better fit and still feel it is, even with the loss.''

The junior from Pasadena, Calif., now hopes this loss can lead to bigger and better things for the program. For a while on Saturday, the Fighting Bees looked liked a club that could compete with the best teams in the country, leading 28-17 at halftime. Ultimately, though, too many mistakes and not enough offense in the second half proved costly.

The Bees now are in good shape to make those strides toward national prominence. The Bees finished 9-2, losing only to teams ranked No. 9 (Grand View, 29-26 in double OT) and the 10th-ranked Raiders. Along the way, SAU also beat four Top 25 ranked teams.

SAU had only seven seniors on its playoff two-deep roster. Two of those – defensive end Jake Hemmen, an Alleman product, and Bettendorf's Mitch Overstreet -- each have a year of eligibility left if they decided to use it. So there is plenty there with which to work.

"We've got a core groups of guys coming back, so we'll be well-experienced,'' said junior quarterback Eric Williamson. "It hurts right now, but we'll come back next year and know what to do in this situation.''

Those in the SAU camp feel as if this experience – and the entire season – will pay dividends.

"As difficult as this is right now, we do have guys coming back and we've taken some steps this year,'' said SAU coach Mike Magistrelli. "Being in the conference title hunt, making the playoffs and, for half of a football game, playing well in the playoffs.

"We have to find a way to make this a positive to learn from and move forward and be a better team as the result of this experience. I think there are a lot of young players who got a taste today. We'll all go back to work and spend the entire offseason getting ready for hopefully having this experience next year and taking advantage of it.''

Using Saturday's loss as a motivator shouldn't be a problem – if motivation is even needed.

"I don't think this group of guys needs anything to spur us on, but if it's anything, a playoff loss will do it,'' said Williamson. "I worked with these guys in the winter, spring and summer and these guys want it for themselves. I don't think they need any more motivation.''

Considering this was SAU's first playoff trip since a four-year run ended in 2008, it speaks well for the program's present and future. This could be the start of something good for the Bees.

"This is a great stepping stone for us,'' said Bell. "We got into the playoffs, got a piece of the conference, now it's get to the next step, get deeper in the playoffs.We'll be ready for next season.''

And maybe then Bell will have another shot to earn West Coast bragging rights.



















 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.


(More History)