Eagles football team look to soar past Falcons

Eagles football team look to soar past Falcons


Mason Niese

Freshman running back and former high school track standout Korbyn Haley carries the ball during practice on Monday in preparation for the season.

Ashland University opens up its football season by hosting the nationally ranked Notre Dame here at home on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Lee Owens, Head Coach of Ashland Eagles, talked about the loss to Notre Dame last year 42-35 in overtime. He described the loss as “one of those games that felt like we did everything right but didn’t win the game.”

“It’s been a long year since the opener of 2021 and it was a tough loss for us. The win against a nationally ranked team, would have been a huge springboard into our season last year and it was tough,” he said.

Owens assures that his men have been ready for this game since they walked off the field in South Euclid at Notre Dame’s campus. The expectations are nothing short of intensity and fearlessness for the Eagles defending their home ground in this year’s season opener.

“We have to play with fewer mistakes than last time. We turned the ball over a couple of times, and a fumble ran back for a touchdown. We let up a kickoff return for a touchdown,” he said.

Notre Dame has consistently had winning seasons, which is why they are the nationally ranked No. 10 team in the country. Since 2016, the Notre Dame Falcons have not had a season under .500 and are looking to build off of their 11-2 record in the 2021 season.

The Eagles did not have as much success in 2021 as they finished their first season in the GMAC with a 5-5 record. You could point out that the Eagles quarterback Autin Brenner went down midseason or the other handful of injuries AU had to make up for. Coach Owens expressed he isn’t here to use that as an excuse for last year.

“After the third or fourth week of the season we lost our best receiver, our quarterback who was leading the country at that time in yards, we lost our running back and multiple defensive starters,” he said. “We lost three out of four captains. We lost that kind of leadership and were one game away from the conference championship.”

He backs up that this year is different by having more depth in each position with a “next man up” mentality.

“I just don’t think the injuries will have that big of an impact again,” he said.

Lee Owens is entering his 19th season with over 250+ wins and says that his personal drive is “it’s never been enough.”

“You want to be the best, you want to be a champion. It’s almost like it’s never enough,” he continued. “Ashland University has never won a regional championship or a national championship. There are still goals out there.”

The Eagles are currently ranked No. 3 in the preseason GMAC ranking as they enter their second season in the new conference after moving away from the GLIAC. Owens said that his team and himself are not paying much attention to the rankings.

“Preseason rankings are like weather forecasts, they’re about right half the time and the other half is just guessing,” he said. “Sooner than later the Eagles will be champions of this league, I believe that in my heart.

When he was asked if the door will ever close with his coaching career at Ashland University he replied.

“If we win the national championship this year, we’re going to have a big parade right down Claremont and keep on going and never stop,” he concluded. “You won’t see me after it.”