WALESKA, GA – There’s an adage in football that teams only beat themselves.
Six games in, it’s apparent that not even Reinhardt can beat Reinhardt.
Despite being penalized for over 200 yards, the Reinhardt Eagles continued to roll through the 2017 slate, blitzing the Union Bulldogs 56-6. The win gave the Eagles a 6-0 mark and a perfect 3-0 record in the Appalachian Division of the reconfigured Mid-South Conference. Halfway through their fifth season, the Eagles tallied their 40th victory against only eleven losses, and first-year head coach James Miller keeps his record unblemished.
The secret is not much of a secret. It’s a punishing rushing attack behind a veteran offensive line that opens holes for a rotating stable of runners. Going into today’s action, the Eagles lead the NAIA in total rushing yards (2337) and rushing yards per game (389.5). Making those numbers even more gaudy is that Reinhardt had one game washed out and another lasted 28 minutes because of even more weather. The Eagles have basically played just five-and-a-half games.
And yet, they’ve accumulated 36 touchdowns with fourteen different runners finding paydirt. Montralius Mosely, Qua Stocks, and M’Calun Lanier each have six.
The only group that covers more ground during a three-hour stint belongs to Santa Claus.
The offense has not missed a beat with the departure of ex-head coach Drew Cronic to Furman. Fred Jones inherited the offensive coordinator mantle and play-calling duties. “He has done a phenomenal job preparing off offensive side,” said coach Miller via e-mail. “He is extremely innovative with formations and play selections. He has gotten more comfortable with every game.”
But that’s only half the story. The defense is a force of its’ own. Reinhardt also leads the NAIA in rushing yards per game (47) and have allowed only one rushing touchdown. Also, the line has recorded fifteen sacks and the secondary has thirteen interceptions. In the latter category, Taylor Hawkins and Nick Johnson each have three.
Put it all together, and the result is a stretch of dominance the likes of which Georgia has never seen. The Eagles are averaging 51 points a game and allowing only 13. They have won 19 out of their last 20. The only loss in that period is a defeat to eventual champion St. Francis (IN) in last year’s semifinals.
While it’s unlikely that “We Want Bama” signs will sprout outside the dorms in Waleska, the Eagles haven’t forgotten about their goal. It’s what St. Francis denied them last year. It’s a trip to the NAIA title game and a chance to bring some serious hardware to this small town at the intersection of State Routes 140 and 108 north of Canton.
So the Eagles are taking a little break in getting ready for the stretch run. “The bye week we will focus on getting healthy and getting better,” said Miller. “We will prepare for Pikeville University.”
But the 202 yards on twenty penalties incurred versus Union is a concern. “We talked about it as a team,” Miller continued. “We got to play smarter in certain situations. We’re playing very aggressive which is the reason for some of the penalties. We must do a great job of coaching the kids up and playing smarter.”
Three games remain in the regular season. Following the trip to Pikeville, the Eagles close the home part of the slate by hosting Bluefield (Va.), before wrapping up the regular season with a trip to St. Andrews in Laurinburg, NC. Entering Saturday’s play, the Rams are 2-0 in the Appalachian Division, while St. Andrews is playing their first year in existence.
Each of the division winners gain an automatic berth into the playoffs. The Eagles have been ranked third in the NAIA the whole season. With three games left, anything can happen, but, Reinhardt must hope for an upset of the top two seeds so Waleska can host another semifinal. St. Francis sent the Eagles home the last two years, so, ideally, they should be on the opposite side of the bracket.
But there is another adage in football. It’s win the week. For Reinhardt, that means focusing solely on the Pikeville Bears.

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