The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Panthers continue to maintain focus for road game against SEMO

With a 28-27 overtime lost against University of Tennessee-Martin, the Panthers look to bounce back with a win against Southeast Missouri State this Saturday at Houck Stadium.

Redshirt junior quarterback Pierce Holley says the loss against UT Martin hasn’t changed the team’s focus.

Pierce Holley, a junior quarterback (3), says the team’s approach has not changed since the 27-28 OT loss against the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. (File)

“It doesn’t change our approach for this week,” Holley said. “We still got our goals in front of us.”

Senior kicker Stone Galloway says he still feels good following the loss against UT Martin.

“It was a tough team, and we played really well,” Galloway said. “We’re excited to get back at it and not letting that game influence our mindset, but also at the same time letting it fuel us to be a bit more aggressive and want this one even more.”

Panthers’ Head Coach Chris Wilkerson shared his team’s mindset and motivation heading into the next game and how the Panthers will work to maintain their confidence after last week’s lost.

“So you know, every week for us, it’s just about our preparation, and it’s about the next opponent and we’re still chasing our best football game as a team,” Wilkerson said. “We really are more worried about ourselves, but yeah. Certainly, from a conference standpoint, you know, being on one, if we want to remain in the race for the possibility of competing for a championship when it’s all said and done, then we’ve got to find a way to, you know, secure [a] victory this weekend.”

Redshirt junior linebacker Anthony Shockey says the team is focusing on themselves to prepare for Saturday’s game.

“Every week, we focus who we are and what we can do as a team,” Shockey said. “We game plan, of course, sure, but at the end of the day, it’s us versus us, Panthers versus Panthers, and that’s really where we’re at week by week.”

Wilkerson also shared his team’s key takeaways and lessons learned from the last game that they can apply against SEMO.

“[There’s] always room for growth and improvement,” Wilkerson said. “You know, again, we haven’t even come close to playing our best football game as a team yet. Certainly, there were some flushes of greatness in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams, but there’s a lot of growth that has to happen in all three phases for us to be as competitive as we’d like to be.”

Junior wide receiver DeAirious Smith says he has noticed that everyone is locked in during practices.

DeAirious Smith, a junior wide receiver (88), has seen his teammates lock in more preparing for the team’s road game against the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks. (File)

“Everybody is just locked in even more,” Smith said. “We’re just staying together and being there for each other.”

Sophomore wide receiver Justin Bowick Jr. and redshirt junior defensive back Mark Aitken says he sees the intensity of the team improving throughout practices.

“Everyone is going 110% and trying to get better,” Bowick said. “We’re betting on ourselves every single day.”

“The intensity and focus are definitely heightened from last week,” Aitken said. “Everybody knows that we don’t have room for error knowing that we lost by just one point last game.”

Shockey and Aitken say they want to see the team play a “complete game” against SEMO on Saturday.

“Whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams; just put it all together for one good time to see where our potential really lies,” Shockey said.

“I want to see the team have fun and play a complete game through all three phases: offense, defense and special teams,” Aitken said.

“I just want to see our boys go out there and play well,” Galloway said previewing Saturday’s game.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Houck Stadium.

The sports staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Zaria Flippin
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.
Duane Carter
Duane Carter, Sports Reporter
Duane Carter is a junior sports media relations major. This is his first year at The News.

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