NATCHITOCHES – Senior nose tackle Garron Featherston believes his Northwestern State teammates don’t have to be superheroes to be successful.
The Demons absorbed a last-second 32-31 loss Saturday night at Lamar, their fourth Southland Conference defeat, two in the last minute, the other two settled in the latter half of the fourth quarter.
NSU opens a two-game homestand Saturday evening at 6 against its’ biggest rival, McNeese, in the Demons’ homecoming game at Turpin Stadium. With all due respect to the Cowboys (3-4), Featherston says his team is tantalizingly close to a turnaround.
“It’s tough to be 1-5, but we know a lot of what we’re doing is good, and we just trust in the process, trust in the coaches, trust in ourselves,” he said. “It’s not a major fix. Don’t put on a Superman cape, don’t put on a Batman mask, don’t try to be a hero, just follow what we’re doing well, and everything will work out well.”
That is the mantra consistently preached to the Demons by head coach Jay Thomas. But it would be understandable if the NSU squad was still in a stupor after the jarring end to the Lamar game, considering the Cardinals scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes, sandwiched around an onside kick, to notch a stunning decision.
“We’ve already put it behind us,” said Featherston. “It was a tough, tough loss, but we know how good we can play and we’re already focused on McNeese.”
The Demons’ performance for nearly the entire night Saturday was a confidence-builder, he said. NSU led throughout, by as much as 24-9 early in the second half, and stopped Lamar on fourth down with 4:01 left to preserve a 31-18 lead.
“Knowing we controlled the game for about 57 minutes, we know how good we can play, but we just have to finish,” said Featherston. “We didn’t close out. We let them off the hook, as a team, and we have to be better.”
Although he’s a southern California native who arrived at NSU last season, Featherstone grasps the intensity of the NSU-McNeese series.
“It’s a big Louisiana rivalry. These teams are going to grind every year, and there have been many great games,” he said. “We’re going to come out and try to play as well as possible.”
Sophomore running back Ronald Green, who has posted consecutive 100-yard rushing games the last two weeks, is a New Orleans product who has plenty of understanding of a Demons-Cowboys clash.
“It’s McNeese and NSU, and as usual, it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “We have to show we’re capable of winning, that we’re not looking backwards, we’re moving forward.”
Although it’s homecoming week, Green said that’s not a distraction for the football team.
“It’s all about Saturday night,” he said. “That’s what we work for.”
Thomas admitted the NSU coaching staff lingered over the Lamar loss, but is proud his players haven’t.
“Our guys still have a good look in their eyes,” he said Tuesday. “We’re home for two straight and three of the next four, after playing four of our first six on the road, and three conference games in a row on the road. We have a lot of football left.”
Another in-state rival, Nicholls, visits Turpin Stadiu