The Ferris football team scored three third-quarter touchdowns to lead them to a 28-21 homecoming victory over the Ashland Eagles Saturday, Sept. 29.
The day started out slow for both the Eagles and Bulldogs, as neither team scored on their first four drives, nearly leading to a scoreless half.
“It was a grind,” Ferris Football Head Coach Tony Annese said. “I’m just relieved that we were able to get Ashland. They play us tough. For some reason, they’re that team that’s a thorn in our side and I feel relieved that we got a W against them on homecoming.”
Ashland found the endzone first, striking on a five-yard run by Ashland redshirt junior Luke Ogi. Ferris junior quarterback Jayru Campbell struck back quickly however, finding Ferris redshirt freshman receiver Sy Barnett for a 6-yard touchdown pass. The two teams headed to half knotted up at 7-7.
“The first one was just the Jayru and I connection,” Barnett said. “I think he has that trust in the goal-line fade ball. We talk every single day and it shows our connection on the field.”
The Bulldogs came out of the second half ready to dominate, as Campbell connected with Barnett for another touchdown, giving Ferris their first lead of the day. Ferris would go on to score three unanswered touchdowns before the Eagles made a fourth quarter comeback, but ultimately fell short.
Campbell and Barnett were the stars of the day. Campbell led the Bulldogs in rushing with 131 yards and passing with 263 yards, adding three total touchdowns, as well. Barnett was on the opposite end of two of those touchdowns, also adding 129 yards on seven receptions.
Apart from Barnett’s impact on the passing game, he also made an impact in the punt game, kicking a ball deep and pinning Ashland’s offense at the one-yard-line.
Annese spoke to how versatile Barnett is, hinting that the Bulldogs have a playbook that revolves around the young receiver, including Barnett’s crucial punt.
“I just try to add to our repertoire of ‘Sy plays,’” Annese said. “We’ve got a few different little things we do, Sy-Cho was that one. We’ve got Sy-chology. There’s like 20-25 more. We’ll break them out later.”
Ferris’ offense was not the only squad to show up. The Bulldogs’ defense held the Eagles at bay for most of the game, giving up just seven points up until the fourth quarter. Ferris junior linebacker Delon Stephenson made a tone-setting play for the defense, with a pick six in the third quarter.
“I was just doing my assignment like every play,” said Stephenson. “I was just hustling to the ball, because you never know what’s going to happen when you hustle. It just so happened that Najeem had deflected it and it fell right into my legs and I picked it up and ran it in to a touchdown.”
The Bulldogs are now 5-0 overall, with a 3-0 record in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).
It’s a tight race for sole possession of the GLIAC, as Grand Valley State University, Davenport University and Saginaw Valley State University all remained undefeated as well, creating a four-way tie for the conference lead.
Ferris will be back in action 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, when they take on the Michigan Tech Huskies at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan.