RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The start to the 2021 football season has been tough for the Shaw Bears – by design.
Head coach Adrian Jones wanted to get his team toughened up for CIAA conference play.
Sound theory but looming large was their 0-2 record.
Eventually, fans want to see results, and Saturday against Central State the Bears put their work on full display with a 52-0 statement win in their first home game.
“I was very nervous, just the pressure when your 0-2 and you want to get a win,” said Jones. “Hats off to my guys, hats off to the coaching staff for getting them prepared.”
The two teams played 60 minutes but it only took one quarter to decide the outcome.
Shaw won the toss, deferred to the second half, and then unleashed a stifling defensive effort that forced Central State off the field after three plays.
On the Bears’ ensuing offensive possession, on their first play from scrimmage running back Sydney Gibbs took the handoff 58 yards for the touchdown and sent a clear message the Bears are a force to be reckoned with.
“We don’t ever come out here and take anybody lightly,” said Bears running back Sidney Gibbs, “When you see the defense you’re going against is tired that’s when you know you have them.”
Gibbs led the rushing attack with 150 yards on 14 carries and one score. On the day, six Bears rushed for a total of 299 yards which had coach Jones grinning ear to ear.
“If you got a run game you can just about do anything,” said coach Jones. “It opens up the passing game and we definitely ran the ball well.”
The Bears freshman signal caller Christian Peters picked up where he left off last week against Davidson.
He finished the day 13-17 through the air for 136 yards with two passing TDs and added another rushing score. Not bad for a freshman.
“He’s still a freshman doing some things that we don’t ask him to do but we will get that corrected next week,” said Jones. “All in all he did a good job playing in today’s game.”
Hanging half a hundred on someone turns heads and the Bears impressed everyone in attendance scoring every way possible.
It’s the zero that impresses others.
When a team has the game in hand most coaches start emptying the bench to get players that don’t normally see the field game-time reps.
Jones did just that getting a large group of players playing time.
Usually, that’s when the opposition pulls out a late touchdown or maybe a field goal.
The zero the Bears defense put up tells you their starters, second and third-team players aren’t just good players but kept the intensity going until the clock hit zero.
Of course, coach being coach, he liked it all.
“I think I like both, we get a shut out for the defense and the offense put some points up on the board so everything went well,” said Jones. “But we still have some improving to do.”
One group leading the way in the constant improvement department, and where you need it most, are the guys on the line. All game long they were opening holes on the offensive side and shutting them down on the defensive side.
“Shout out to those guys because we couldn’t do it without them it starts in the trenches every time,” said Gibbs. “I just feel like our trenches is a big thing that’s going to carry us through this season in the CIAA as long as we keep building as a team and keep getting our effort and intensity up.”
The Bears get to show this performance was no fluke when they return to action Sept. 25 and open CIAA play against Lincoln (PA). Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.