The 4-3 Wildcats head into a grudge match at the 4-3 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks this Saturday after a much-needed bye week for the Wildcats according to head coach Adam Dorrel.
Dorrel said his guys were grateful for the bye week last week and said he gave his guys Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off to recover after assessing his team needs.
“Our guys physically and mentally needed a break,” Dorrel said. “We approached the bye week really well. I thought most of the preparation for SFA was a lot more mental. When we came back to practice on Sunday night, I felt more renewed energy and attention to detail.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Stone Earle faced a leg injury in the homecoming game against Lamar, but Dorrel said he will travel with the team this week. Dorrel said they’re waiting on more results from doctors before a timetable can be set for his return. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Peyton Mansell led the rushing attack with 122 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts against Lamar after Earle went down.
“Peyton’s really excited,” Dorrel said. “He’s been energized but that’s how he’s been every week. His preparation has always been very good and he’s very mature for a guy his age. He’s not trying to do too much and he’s relying on the people around him.”
The previous two matchups between the Lumberjacks and Wildcats resulted in a two overtime win for the Wildcats in 2019 and an overtime win for the Lumberjacks in 2020. This time, it’s the Lumberjacks’ homecoming game between the two rival schools. Dorrel said both teams feed off each other.
“We don’t feel like we’ve played our best football yet,” Dorrel said. “Obviously we’ve got four really tough opponents left in the season. I think our guys are really energized and focused and understand the challenge ahead these next four weeks. We haven’t hit our ceiling by any means.”
The Wildcats and Lumberjacks face off at 4 p.m. Saturday in Nacogdoches, TX on ESPN+.