FERRUM—Emory & Henry College’s planned exit from Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and from future Ferrum College sports schedules are not the only changes coming for the Panthers.
There are immediate changes on the horizon in football.
After a spring semester football campaign that will make up for the one lost this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Panthers’ 2021 schedule will look quite different from the ones of the immediate past.
Southern Virginia University, currently a football-only member of the ODAC, is departing for full sports membership in the USA South Athletic Conference, and the Panthers and the Knights are not scheduled to face one another after this spring, Ferrum Director of Athletics John Sutyak said in an email Wednesday.
“There is currently no plan to add (Southern Virginia) to the schedule anytime in the future,’’ Sutyak said.
Newport News Apprentice, which last played Ferrum in 2018, is replacing Southern Virginia on all ODAC football schedules, returns as a non-conference opponent.
The Ferrum-Apprentice series dates to the Panthers junior college football era; the two most-recent meetings (in 2017 and 2018) were in September with the 2017 match-up featuring the debut of Zack Clifford as Ferrum’s starting quarterback, and Ferrum achieved 2-0 starts in both campaigns.
The Panthers’ 2019 game against Southern Virginia was their first since 2012 and Ferrum takes a 5-1 series edge into this spring’s contest.
Averett University, the former head coaching home of current Panthers sideline boss Cleive Adams, remains on the schedule, but Greensboro (N.C.) College departs after this spring.
“We are scheduled to continue our home-and-home series with Averett,’’ Sutyak said.
Ferrum is set to host the fall 2021 contest.
Replacing the Pride is former Panthers’ nemesis Christopher Newport University.
The Greensboro series dates to 1997, the Pride’s inaugural year of intercollegiate football, and Ferrum has won 20 of the 23 games played.
Greensboro’s last win, a 19-17triumph, came in 2014 in a game that saw former quarterback Tim Reynolds sustain a career-ending injury, a broken leg, on the last play of the game. Ferrum was victorious in 2015 in its designated homecoming game played in Roanoke at William Fleming High School, and from 2016-2019, the Panthers outscored the Pride 218-37, including an 81-0 whitewashing in 2018 at W.B. Adams Stadium.
Ferrum is 12 points from being undefeated in the series.
The Christopher Newport series; however, has been one-sided in favor of the Captains, who lead the set 13-1. Included in that run of success is an 11-game winning streak by Christopher Newport from 2004-2014.
The series has been on hiatus since 2014, the Captains’ final season in the USA South. Since then, the Captains have been football members of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJCA).
Ferrum’s lone win in the series came in 2003 at W.B. Adams Stadium, 19-17.
Christopher Newport is set to host the fall 2021 contest.
Once Emory & Henry leaves the ODAC, the league will have seven football-playing schools: Ferrum, Bridgewater College, Randolph-Macon College, Shenandoah University, Washington and Lee University, Hampden-Sydney College and Guilford (N.C.) College.
That’s the minimum a conference needs in order for its champion to receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
If the ODAC’s football membership stays at seven, each team will need to schedule three, non-league games to complete a 10-game slate.
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