Football team in need of changes

Maher Kawash, Football Reporter


It was one of the most important games of the year for the Eastern football team, and all that came out of it was more questions than answers.

Eastern was just outmatched on the field in a 44-13 loss to Illinois State, and now the 1-2 Panthers need to ‘take a look in the mirror’ as coach Kim Dameron said.

It can be said the Panthers have had barely a handful of good offensive drives in all three of their games, with inconsistency plaguing all parts of the team.

Luckily for Eastern, it still faces a great opportunity to turn things around as Ohio Valley Conference play is set to begin.

Better yet, the Panthers get to open conference play against a team who may be struggling even more than them.

Southeast Missouri will head to Charleston for the conference-opener, and the Redhawks are fresh off their sixth consecutive loss.

“It’s obvious that what we’re doing isn’t working, so we got to look at if we need to make some changes,” Dameron said.

Those changes may come in several places when Eastern takes on Southeast Missouri, but as always all eyes are on the quarterback position and the defense.

When a defense gives up over 35 points in back-to-back weeks questions will be raised, but to be fair not many defenses would succeed if they were on the field as much as Eastern’s has been.

The Panthers just have no momentum on offense with rotating quarterbacks Mitch Kimble and Scotty Gilkey Jr. struggling to find time in the pocket.

The inability to move the ball offensively has forced the Panther defense to play a mass amount of snaps, and that is just something that will continue to beat up a team especially in conference play.

“This is a broken record but we have to be more physical on the outside at receiver, blocking on the edges, make big plays,” Dameron said. “We just have to play better all over.”

Playing better all over will go a long way against Southeast Missouri as their defense is experiencing some of the same problems.

In fact, the Redhawks just fielded 35 points to Southern Illinois University.

While we do not know what exact changes are ahead for the Panthers this week, we do know that they are sticking together.

Dameron said regardless of what struggles the team is going through right now, they will not point fingers because they will always be a family.

“The only finger that needs to be pointed starts with me and comes right back towards me,” Dameron said.

Southeast Missouri will be the first step in Eastern turning this season around, and it will be an important one as the team follows Saturday’s matchup with a tough road game against Tennessee State the following week.

“We’re going to try to win one game at a time,” Dameron said. “We better show up with some offense or it won’t be any different.”

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]