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Quincy already owns thrilling victory
The Quincy University football team netted $30,000 from Indiana State last week, along with its first-ever win over a Division I-AA program.
Quincy coach Bill Terlisner hopes the NAIA Hawks can double their pleasure again tonight when they visit Southeast Missouri State for the Redhawks' season opener.
Southeast is paying Quincy $25,000, but the idea in these types of "guarantee" games is for the home squad to prevail.
Things don't always work out that way, as the Hawks proved against Indiana State.
"It was huge for our program," Terlisner said. "We've played a lot of I-AA teams [eight prior to Indiana State], and to have a victory is enormous."
The circumstances of the win in Quincy's season opener especially impressed Terlisner.
Quincy fell behind 17-0 after one quarter but tied things with less than a minute left in regulation and emerged with a 26-20 overtime triumph.
"To be down 17 points and come back, that showed a lot from our guys," Terlisner said.
Terlisner acknowledged that the upset will give Quincy plenty of confidence tonight.
But Terlisner also emphasized Southeast is a strong favorite to avoid what happened to the Sycamores.
"It gives our kids some confidence," Terlisner said. "I still think we're heavy underdogs, I don't care what anybody says.
"If anything, it woke SEMO up. I'm sure they won't overlook us."
Southeast coach Tony Samuel said that wouldn't have been a problem even if Quincy had lost to Indiana State. Samuel considers the Hawks to be a solid team.
Terlisner, a former Quincy player and assistant now in his 10th season as coach, has certainly elevated the program.
Quincy has had three straight winning seasons for the first time since it reinstated football in 1987, going 6-5 each year.
The Hawks feature a quarterback (Sam Donatucci) who passed for more than 2,000 yards last year, a running back (Corey Williams) who rushed for more than 800 yards and an offensive line that averages 320 pounds per starter.
"They've got talent," Samuel said.
Terlisner said he considers the Hawks' strength to be their defensive front seven led by 285-pound tackle Corey Reidl, who led the 2008 Hawks with five quarterback sacks.
"I think our defense can keep us in some games," Terlisner said.
Terlisner said his players get excited to play I-AA teams the same way the Redhawks get fired up for their annual "guarantee" game against a I-A opponent.
"Just like SEMO is excited to go play Arkansas, Missouri, those types of teams, our kids are excited to play these teams," Terlisner said. "To play in a bigger stadium than what they're used to, to try and show that maybe they could have played at a higher level."
Quincy played at Southeast one other time, in 2001 during Terlisner's second season. The Hawks were throttled 38-6.
"But we had a good experience. We were treated well," Terlisner said.
The Hawks hope to be treated better on the field this time. Based on what happened at Indiana State, Terlisner said his players believe they can spring another surprise.
"Our game plan is just like [against] Indiana State," Terlisner said. "We want to be in the game on the last drive, or with three minutes left, where if we put one drive together we can win.
"We don't want to get buried early, which can happen."