Sports Contact: J.T. Wilcox, Sports Information Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HIALEAH, FL – When a casual fan watches a football game, they look at it with a very macro, results-based perspective. In their eyes, a play gained yards or it didn't; the ball was caught or it was dropped; the team scored or it didn't.
For coaches, the game is a series of 1-on-1 battles going on all at once all over the field. And if one player loses his battle, everything else will feel some sort of the ripple effect from it.
On the macro, ASA Miami falling into a 25-point hole was its undoing in last week's 40-25 loss to Lackawanna College. But from Silver Storm head coach Roosevelt Williams' view, his team made too many one-on-one mistakes that led to the team's first loss of the season.
With rival Georgia Military College coming to town this week, Williams is hoping that his team can limit mistakes and earn a home victory when the Silver Storm take on the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. kickoff) at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
Williams said last week's loss played out the way he thought it would if his team made too many mistakes.
"I knew that game was going to come down to whichever team made the fewest mistakes," Williams reflected. "I feel like we spotted them two or three touchdowns because of a couple of mistakes. We tried to rally late, but by then we had already done ourselves in."
"We have to minimize our mistakes. When we minimize our mistakes, I honestly feel like we can play with anyone in the country," Williams added.
Saturday, ASA Miami will be playing against the No. 10 ranked team in the country in Georgia Military (4-1) – also a team that the Silver Storm has never defeated. It will be the eighth meeting between the programs, with GMC having outscored ASA Miami 237-101 in the previous seven showdowns and defeating the Silver Storm by an average of 19 points per game.
If ASA (2-1, 1-1 JUCO) is to change its fortunes against the Bulldogs, a lot of onus will fall on its quarterback.
Freshman quarterback Jaeze Tracey had a hot start to the season – setting multiple ASA Miami records with a 406 passing-yard, six-total touchdown performance against Arkansas Baptist (Sept. 14) on the heels of a four-total touchdown outing in week one (Aug. 24). However, Tracey struggled this past weekend at Lackawanna. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound signal caller was under duress on most of his dropbacks; exited the game during the second quarter, briefly returned after halftime, and was sidelined again during the third quarter. Tracey finished the game 10-for-25 with just 79 yards with an interception and a fumble.
Playing in Tracey's stead this past week, fellow freshman quarterback Keanu Kong tried to orchestrate a Silver Storm comeback – leading the team on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter while finishing the game with 247 passing yards with two touchdown passes and a pair of interceptions.
Coach Williams confirmed that Tracey's absence from the game was injury-related and that he'll handle the quarterback situation the same way moving forward.
"Lackawanna showed a lot of different looks and we made too many mistakes in terms of blocking assignments. That led to Jaeze taking a lot of hits. So, he did get banged up a bit and was unable to go back into the game. It's always 'next man ready', and I was very proud of the way that [Keanu] Kong came in and performed."
"It's always been a two-quarterback situation with Jaeze and Keanu. We're confident in both guys and we can go with both guys," Williams said.
One thing that should help the Silver Storm's defense Saturday is the healthy return of defensive back Shadrach Martin. Martin did not play in the game against Lackawanna, and Williams said that Martin's presence was missed on the backend of the defense.
"We're getting our starting free safety Shadrach [Martin] back, which is huge," Williams said. "He's our general on the back end. We had some blown coverages last week and I feel like having him back in the lineup and patrolling the defensive backfield will limit those kinds of mistakes."
Ultimately, Williams knows that his team's success on Saturday will come down to a familiar factor.
"I know we've never beaten [Georgia Military College] but we're excited and ready for this game. I think we match up well against them," Williams said. "We just need to stick to our game plan offensively, because I feel like we have the best wide receiver's corps in the country. If we minimize our mistakes, we can play with GMC and anyone else in the country."