So the Mercer Bears can’t win the Pioneer Football League title. Those hopes went out the door with last week’s loss to Marist -- the Bears’ second of the season.
But that doesn’t mean the Bears aren’t having a special season in their first year back with a football program.
And it doesn’t mean there aren’t some goals still out there for Mercer in its season finale. In fact, the Bears have two important goals right there in front of them.
If Mercer can beat Stetson on Saturday -- and it should; the Hatters are 2-8 and struggling in their first season -- the Bears will finish with a 10-2 record. Finishing with 10 wins in the first season would be something special for the Mercer players and coaches. That’s something they could carry into the offseason and the recruiting process and use as a positive as they get ready for their first scholarship class in February and their first season in the Southern Conference next year.
Also, the Bears would finish undefeated at home. Again, that’s something the program could really hang its hat on going into the offseason. Not many teams finish perfect at home, and the Bears have that chance. Coaches talk all the time about defending their home field first and foremost and then building out from there.
Head coach Bobby Lamb and his staff could, again, go to recruits with that and use that as a positive to sell the program for next year: Look at these facilities, look at the crowds the team has had played in front of at home, look at the record the team has playing at home. Those are all huge positives.
Another huge positive would be having a big crowd Saturday at Mercer University Stadium. Yes, the crowds have been solid, but Saturday’s crowd needs to be the biggest of the season (although it will be hard to top the opener). It is homecoming, after all, and there is a basketball game for Bob Hoffman’s terrific team at noon against Yale at Hawkins Arena.
There is just no reason for Mercer fans not to show up Saturday and make a day of it and have big crowds at both games to watch their two talented teams.
That’s a goal the Mercer fans need to make happen Saturday. And their two teams deserve that.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org