The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions have now lost two straight Southwestern Athletic Conference games in overtime fashion, but head football coach Cedric Thomas is determined to keep his team focused during Homecoming week as it prepares for yet another tough conference game against Alabama A&M on Saturday.
“We have to do a good job defensively of keeping them in front of us,” Thomas said. “We need to go out for four quarters and play good sound ball and don’t get caught up in the ‘it’s close’ mentality then let another one slip away. We will continue to do it the right way. I will never jeopardize wins and losses for my personal gain, but they deserve to win by preparation and doing things right, so the battle cry now is ‘win.’”
On Oct. 20, UAPB fell 48-47 in double overtime against Mississippi Valley, then one week later fell to the defending SWAC champs, Grambling, by the score of 45-38 in overtime.
“I was looking for our kids to take the first shot against Grambling,” Thomas said.
“The game is different when you are the aggressor. We got out to a fast start on both offense and defense. We had a 3-0 lead after the first quarter of play and led 9-7 at halftime. In the second half, we had mental lapses that hurt us in the end. In the first half, we had one missed tackle, but in the second half, we had 14 missed tackles. Some of our guys are getting fatigued due to the amount of plays they have to play in."
When coach was asked about what he has learned about his ball club this season in his first year as head coach, he firmly responded:
“You talk about resilience. The perception of those young men is changing. After tough losses, they still go to class and attend study hall. They go to church on Sunday’s. You talk about being 1-6, 1-7, and still come to work everyday? I’ll take them anywhere in the world to watch these kids transform. I tell them to trust me. Despite everything that has happened in the past, if you can’t trust yourself, trust me.”