Throughout the week, I was asked a few times if Mercer was ready for its Pioneer Football League opener.
Sure, the Bears won their first three games, and everyone was excited about that for the first-year program. But this was another level, a conference game against one of three teams that shared last year’s conference title.
So surely the Bears would suffer their first loss, right? It probably won’t be competitive, will it?
And if it is, Drake will find a way to pull out the win, correct?
Well, I shared some of those thoughts going into the week, but after talking to head coach Bobby Lamb early in the week, my feelings changed.
And that changed proved to be appropriate Saturday as the Bears pulled out an impressive 31-17 win.
“Everybody is looking back to what Campbell did five years ago, and it took Campbell awhile to win their first PFL game,” Lamb said. “It says a lot about our team. It says a lot about our kids. It says a lot about their will to prepare and their will to win.
“I can’t be more proud of them for what they’ve done. We’ve asked these young men to do everything for an entire year-and-a half now, and they’ve stepped up to the plate for us.”
The Bears’ plan certainly paid off in a big way Saturday, and that has to be a big boost for the first-year program. Before the season, I predicted the Bears would finish 6-6 in this first campaign, and I was mocked by a few people for that.
While we have no idea what will happen the rest of the way, my prediction looks a little conservative now. The Bears have some tough games left, for sure, starting with a road trip this week all the way across the country to San Diego. It is a long season, and anything can happen.
But things look good right now for Lamb and the Bears. They’re feeling good about themselves, and they should.
The competition got tougher Saturday, but so did the Bears, and that’s a good sign for the rest of the season.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org