After allowing 65 points in September of 2011 to Albright, the Wilkes football team and coach Frank Sheptock could have given up on the season at that point and taken shot after shot from every other team.
Instead, the Colonels learned from that lopsided loss and even turned in some stellar defensive efforts after that 39-point defeat. The team showed resiliency last year finishing with four wins and Sheptock used that loss to address weaknesses on defense in the offseason.
"We tried to use it more as a learning experience but it definitely stings when you're losing by 40 points and giving up 65," Sheptock said.
This afternoon at 2, the Colonels (1-0) will face Albright (2-0, 1-0 MAC) at home in the team's MAC and home opener. There's nothing more the Colonels would like to prove than showing the Lions that they are a better team this season.
A win for Wilkes would not only show Albright and the rest of the MAC that the team is for real it would also be a milestone for Sheptock, who currently sits at 99 career wins.
"One of the things I take a great deal of pride in is that at Wilkes we have a program where we've had longevity here," Sheptock said. "I think it signifies that we've had the opportunity to coach a lot of great players through my time here…If and when (win No. 100) occurs then it will be a very proud moment for this program and I'll have a lot of pride in it as well because of being able to coach the players I've had an opportunity to coach here."
Wilkes enters the game rejuvenated after opening the season with a win and then having a bye in Week 2, which is a crucial aspect as the team will now play nine straight conference games.
But they begin against the Lions, who haven't changed much since the last time the two squared off. They not only have a potent passing game like crushed Wilkes last year, they now have a complimenting running game. Ty Hughes leads the MAC in rushing with 245 yards
Albright (2-0, 1-0 MAC) at Wilkes (1-0, 0-0)
When: 2 p.m. today at Schmidt Stadium, Edwardsville
Last Meeting: The Lions hammered the Colonels 65-26 last season.
Last week: Wilkes had its bye and is coming of a Week 1 9-7 victory over Morrisville State. The Lions defeated second-year program Stevenson 29-22 in overtime last week.
What to know: Wilkes coach Frank Sheptock is already the program's winningest coach. With a win today he will reach another milestone with No. 100.
About the Lions: They return a total of 16 starters from last year's team with nine on offense and seven on defense. Tailback Ty Hughes leads the MAC with 245 rushing yards.
About the Colonels: Three players had at least 12 rushes in their win over Morrisville State. Andrew Regan had a big game last time out hauling in five catches for 110 yards and running 14 times for 47 yards.
Notes: QB Tyler Bernsten will start for the Colonels, but Alex George is expected to see significant playing time as well. Wilkes tailback Aux Wogou, who missed the opener with an injury, will be back on the field this afternoon.
Albright will win if it can contain Wilkes' running game and keep the Colonels pass defense on their toes.
Wilkes will win if it can turn long drives into touchdowns instead of field goals because points will be needed this game against a high-scoring Albright team.
Up Next: Wilkes hits the road to face Widener, while Albright heads home to face Lycoming.