Category Archives: Football

Bulldogs to sign 35 on National Signing Day

Wessli-Ann Hardee, Staff Writer

Around 35 student-athletes are expected to sign with the Wingate Football program on Wednesday, Feb. 7, according to Head Coach Joe Reich.

The Wingate football program has been searching for guys across the country throughout the year to, “Add quality depth at several positions,” said Reich.

In years’ past, the football program has heavily recruited and added quite a bit of numbers to their program. Last year, the recruiting class had about 60 guys. This year is a different story, with the number being nearly cut in half.

“We are trying to keep our numbers down a bit this year and be more selective,” said Reich.

The entire recruiting process weighs on several men’s shoulders. Different coaches on staff are assigned to certain regions to recruit future collegiate athletes.

“It’s fun and stressful and exciting and a grind and exhilarating and frustrating and all of the above,” Reich said. “But I think it is one of the things that keeps it fresh for us since every year is new and there are new sets of stories and challenges.

Many recruits come on official visits where they tour the campus, and meet some of the current athletes. One of the best things they do is a “player panel,” where they have seven players or so, that meet as a group with the families without any coaches, according to Reich.

Players then have the opportunity to stay for the weekend with a few current players, to get an even better taste of the college life.

“Current players are the key to our success,” says Reich. “The current team sells the program by the kind of people they are and how they act around one another.”

With a large graduating class, Reich is hoping that many of the athletes that sign will be able to fill some big roles, on and off the field. Currently the football team is in their spring training season and will begin spring practice soon.

“Things are rockin’, so it’s a great time to be a Wingate Bulldog!” said Reich.

The first appearance of signees will be at the 2018 Spring Football Game at Irwin Belk Stadium.

Edited by Brendan Shriver

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Candlelight Vigil held for the passing of Wingate student Geoffrey Dawkins

Gabriela Cabrera, Staff Writer

Wingate University students were silent as they gathered together on Thursday to hold a candlelight vigil for a sophomore who passed away earlier this week.

Geoffrey Dawkins, a sophomore criminal justice major, passed away at CMC Main in Charlotte, North Carolina. Students honored his memory by gathering together to share the joy he had brought to each of them. Geoffrey was a member of the Wingate Pep band and Marching band and also the Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Students gather for a candlelight vigil for the passing of Geoffrey Dawkins

Noah Couick, student manager of Wingate University’s Writing Center, said that Geoffrey was not only a fighter through his sickness, but also through his academics.

“He frequently visited the Writing Center for help with papers and had a zeal to succeed,” said Couick. “I look back and am honored to know that I read the papers of this student.”

Students assembled on the Stegall lawn, hugging and sharing support as Shannon Powell, the director of the Campus Fellowship for Christian Athletes, opened with prayer.

Shelby Dworek, a junior, said she felt comforted being surrounded by friends who also knew Geoffrey.

“You could hear people crying as Mr. Powell started praying. We were all there to support each other in this loss,” said Dworek.

Gage Sumrall, a sophomore who shared the same Kappa Alpha Order fraternity as Dawkins, said that Dawkins was not only a friend and fellow band member, but a brother to him as well.

“Geoffrey Dawkins will be missed by many, but I am so happy to know that his health will never be an issue again,” said Sumrall.

Geoffrey suffered from a skin disease that affected his skin, nails and hair growth. By sophomore year in high school he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that makes it hard for the heart to deliver blood throughout the body.

Cardell Rawlings, a senior, said that once someone got to know Dawkins, he was easily the most genuine and happiest person to walk this Earth.

Rawlings, along with Sumrall and others on the football team, surprised Dawkins, before he passed, by visiting him at CMC Main.

Levine_Dawkins_Nov_3
Photo from Wingate Bulldogs Site

Rawlings said Dawkins kept mentioning how much he wished he could have been at the Wingate homecoming game.

“He stayed so positive and kept telling me, ‘Keep going, keep grinding, it’s all going to pay off’,” said Rawlings. “That hit me then and has hit me even deeper now.”

The vigil ended with the students reciting the Lord’s prayer.

The fraternity brothers of Kappa Alpha Order set up a Go Fund Me page for Dawkins’ family, to help pay his medical bills.

https://www.gofundme.com/geoffrey-dawkins-hospital-bills

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo cover by: Gabriela Cabrera

Bulldogs beat Limestone at homecoming and claim the SAC title

(EDITOR’S UPDATE: The Bulldogs ended their regular season with a 25-17 loss at Tusculum on Saturday. But Wingate, ranked No. 16 in Division II, earned a spot in the playoffs and will host the University of West Florida in a first-round game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Irwin Belk Stadium.) 

Harrison Taylor, Staff Writer

The Wingate University football team moved to 9-0 on Saturday in a win against Limestone College. The Bulldogs claimed the SAC as they demolished Limestone 44-20, climbing to #12 in the AFCA/NCAA Division II Coaches’ top 25 poll. This breaks a record for the team, as they were ranked for a fifth consecutive week in that poll.

During the game, senior running backs Blake Hayes and Lawrence Pittman combined for 279 yards rushing. While Limestone scored a touchdown early on in the game, the Bulldogs dominated in the second-half, as redshirt junior quarterback Dylan Williams threw a career-high of four touchdown passes.

Yesterday Wingate played Tusculum as their final regular game of the season. Despite their loss, the Bulldogs have claimed the SAC title as theirs, with no competition on the horizon.

Last Saturday was also Wingate’s Homecoming game, as the University saw a return of alumni and the crowning of this year’s homecoming King and Queen. Seniors Isaac Aning and Hannah Overcash took the crown as they were voted in by their peers, thus ending the week of festivities leading up to the game.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Bulldogs beat Newberry and rise to No.14 in National Rankings

Harrison Taylor, Staff Writer

Wingate– Wingate University’s football team won their eighth game of the season this Saturday in a sweeping 44-20 win against Newberry College. The win propelled the  team to No. 14 in the AFCA/NCAA Division II Coaches’ top 25 poll, making it the fourth consecutive week that Wingate was ranked in the AFCA poll.

The Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SAC) dominated early in the first quarter, earning a quick 21-0 lead against Newberry. This came at the help of receiver/return specialist BJ Muckelvene, who scored three touchdowns during the game, including a South Atlantic Conference-leading punt return of 85 yards.

Later in the second half, senior running back Lawrence Pittman set a school record with his 39th touchdown of his career. Pittman rushed 26 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Pittman and senior linebacker Zack Singleton, who scored a touchdown from an interception early in the first quarter, both received AstroTurf SAC Player of the Week honors on Monday.

With the win, Wingate clinches a share of the SAC Championship. The Bulldogs host Limestone at 6 p.m. Saturday at Irwin Belk Stadium for Homecoming.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo Credit: Wingate Athletics

Pictured: Zach Singleton #2, he returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Robbie Wallace #10

Wingate football beats Pembroke to remain undefeated and advances in AFCA ranking

Sarah Thurman Staff Writer

After a big win at home on Saturday against UNC-Pembroke,  the undefeated Wingate Bulldogs will be on the road for their next two football games.

Wingate, 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the South Atlantic Conference, will travel to Salisbury to play Catawba on Saturday and to Mars Hill on Oct. 21. Both games will kick off at 1:30 p.m.

The next home game will be against Newberry at Irwin Belk Stadium on Oct. 28, at 6 p.m.

The Bulldogs are one of only two undefeated teams playing NCAA football in North Carolina (the other one is North Carolina A&T) after taking a 31-28 victory over UNC-Pembroke (1-5).

Wingate is ranked No. 24 nationally in this week’s  AFCA/NCAA Division II Coaches’ top 25 poll. It’s the first time we’ve been in the rankings this season

Wide receiver Jay Hood scored the winning touchdown on a 14-yard pass from quarterback James Whitaker with 1:34 left in the game. Senior running back Lawrence Pittman ran for 165 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.

It was the first time the two teams had played each other since the 2014 season. Wingate leads the all-time series 6-3.

The game was the first for the Bulldogs since a 22-14 win at Lenoir-Rhyne on Sept. 23.

In that game, Pittman rushed 37 times for 127 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt senior place kicker Freddy McCollum made a career-high three field goals for Wingate.

By the end of first quarter Wingate led 3-0 with McCollum scoring a 19-yard field goal. At halftime L-R got the lead with a 9-yard touchdown run. But Wingate regained the lead at 10-7 on Whitakers 16-yard touchdown pass to Malik Bledsoe.

In the third quarter, McCollum kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 13-7 lead

During the fourth quarter Pittman got a 3-yard touchdown run and with 3:12 on the clock, McCollum scored a 31-yard field goal, making the score 22-7.

L-Rs Nelson Brown got a 1-yard touchdown run for the final 22-14 score.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Photo Credit: Wingate Athletics Website