Quarterbacks in spotlight as Hornets hold spring game

Kenny Carter

Kenny Carter

DOVER — The wind was whipping footballs around from side to side and the rain would have made most people miserable.

But Kobie Lain and Dan Epperson didn’t mind. They just wanted to step on the field.

Epperson threw a pair of touchdowns and Lain threw one on Saturday as the Hornets held their annual spring football game. Brycen Alleyne scored the other touchdown on the day for the offense on a 6-yard rush.

Coach Kenny Carter said Lain and Epperson are still even for the race to be the No. 1 quarterback going into this fall. He said both will get the opportunity to play.

The team surrounding the quarterbacks on Saturday will end up being a lot different than what Delaware State will roll out in the season opener Sept. 1 at the University of Delaware.

The Hornets’ starting wide receivers are all sitting out spring camp with lingering injuries. That includes top returner and lone senior wide receiver Aris Scott along with juniors Jeremiah Williams and Jonathon Jones plus sophomore Taronn Selby.

“That’s the one thing that was tough on our quarterbacks,” Carter said. “But it was more important to get our other receivers healthy than to worry about that. These quarterbacks can throw the ball and when we get our guys back that will be playing at receiver, it’s going to be a lot more fun,”

Lain started the first possession of the scrimmage before Epperson came in after a few plays. Epperson completed three consecutive mid-range passes for three first downs.

He lofted the first touchdown of the day to newcomer Michael Piersawl, a transfer from Livingstone College. Epperson’s second touchdown was when he connected with Dominic Floyd over the middle for a 35-yard score.

Floyd, a converted tight end who played linebacker a year ago, also caught a pass from Lain for a 40-yard touchdown.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do but it’s great to see the team moving along,” Lain said. “It’s a great experience and I think we’re going to be in the right position to get where we want to get to.”

Senior Gilbert Rivera, who played in nine games last year as the Hornets slumped to a 1-10 record in Carter’s first season, also saw a few reps at quarterback.

Lain, a sophomore, started the final game of the season a year ago while Epperson just arrived on campus this semester after transferring from San Bernadino Junior College. He will have two years of eligibility left starting in the fall.

“It was simple today and it was nice to just get out there in a game-like situation,” Epperson said. “It was definitely a lot faster. Making the adjustment from junior college to Division I has been a transition for sure. But coach Allen does a tremendous job breaking it down for us, and having a guy like that really makes it simple for us.”

While the weather conditions were far from ideal, Lain said he didn’t let them bother him too much.

“We don’t want to be shaken up by the elements,” he said. “It’s good to only focus on the things you can control and you can’t control what weather you’re going to get. You need to focus on the task at hand and how to be successful.”

Defensively the Hornets defense forced two turnovers, a pair of fumbles courtesy of linebackers Kyle Taylor and Rashawn Barrett. Neither quarterback threw an interception.

The Hornets will be boosted by a big incoming recruiting class of 19 players in the fall along with multiple players coming back from injuries who sat out in the spring like leading tackler linebacker Malik Harris.

“It’s coming together very well,” Carter said. “We’re spending a lot of time together and they really are working to be aligned. As long as we continue to do that, we can be where we need to be. We’re a much improved team than what we were last year.”

“There is no pause,” Carter added. “We’ll have a couple of periods for rest over the summer, but everyday we need to ramp up and do what we need to do to become a better team.”

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