Chance Williams | Staff Writer
The Hampton University football team has seen it all through their first five games of the 2021 season.
The Pirates have two wins against Virginia Union and Howard … and three losses against Old Dominion, Norfolk State and Kennesaw State.
A big reason for those wins is the team’s high-powered offense. As of Oct. 7, the Pirates are second in the Big South with 35.3 points per game, according to the conference website. That’s something that not only fans but also players hope will continue.
“As an offensive unit, we’ve been averaging 35.3 points per game, and what’s good is that we can still improve on a lot of things,” HU quarterback Christofer Zellous said. “So we’re just continuing to try and get better every week, finding something we can get better at each day in practice.”
Pirates offensive lineman Zach Jean-Louis agreed.
“Our offense has been clicking. We’re putting up all these points each game. If we can keep that up, continue executing, and staying together, we’ll be in good shape.”
As of Oct. 7, the Pirates ranked fourth in the conference in passing yards per game at 248.8 and second in rushing yards per game at 217.3, according to the Big South.
An unknown aspect of this football season is how quickly the team has come together. “We’re starting to learn from each other,” Zellous said. “Coming off a short offseason and having about 10 weeks to get ready for this season, I think we’re doing a great job of playing together. It’s big-time what we’ve been able to do and create here.”
Athletes often speak about how behind-the-scenes bonds between players are vital in building and sustaining teammate chemistry that leads to wins. At Hampton, players are firm believers in that.
“I want to see us continue to uplift each other when things are both good and bad,” HU defensive back Robinson Davis said. “Just keeping our brothers’ heads up, because not everything is going to be perfect. If we continue to do that, I feel that we’ll be all right.”
Several other players, including wide receivers Armand Vinson and Brycen Thomas, and quarterback Jayden Birchfield, echoed Davis’ comments.
The crowds are a seemingly underrated aspect of football games to those who attend contests at HU’s Armstrong Stadium. Noise created by crowds is a significant help to those playing on the defensive side of the ball, and the Pirates are aware of this.
“During third-down situations, making some noise really throws the offense off,” Davis said. “As a collective defense, we’d appreciate more fans coming out and making noise to help us get off the field, so we can get our offense back on the field to make some more plays.”
HU defensive back Stanley Garner reiterated that.
“When we’re on defense, we want all the fans to get loud so the opposing team doesn’t hear their cadence,” Garner said. “It’s helpful towards us defensive players as well.”
Even with the typical ups and downs of every sports season, the Pirates remain confident, with their heads held high.
“Team morale is great,” Davis said. “We’re family. We preach it every day. It’s about trusting your brother next to you. We’re positive going forward, and we look forward to doing big things. While enduring the highs and lows of a season, it’s important to keep a good head on your shoulders.”
The Pirates have been doing just that while looking to build consistency as they get more games under their belts.
“It’s really all about executing,” HU receiver Romon Copeland Jr. said. “It’s about doing what’s best for the team and holding your brothers accountable.”
The next home game will be against North Carolina A&T on Oct. 23. The entire Hampton University family welcomes any support for the team every time they lace up their cleats.