Defensive back, Dontra Matthews 6-3, 190 (Leesburg High School, Palatka Florida).
Athletics Media Relations
September 29, 2012
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Jackets In College: Dontra Matthews:
VUL optimistic about start of second season
9:24 a.m. EST, September 1, 2012|Chris Humphreys,
The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.
Virginia University of Lynchburg took the football field for the first time since 1954 in 2011 and despite
encountering the problems that every first-year program goes through, the Dragons were surprisingly
VUL won four of its 10 games, lost one game in overtime by three points, lost a second game by two
points and a third game by eight points.
The Dragons are still a very young program and coach Willard Bailey has work to do to keep building the
program, but year one was a success.
The program is beginning to find a footing after spending most of last season practicing all over the city
of Lynchburg. The Dragons now practice regularly at E.C. Glass and their wellness center is up and
The program has some problems scheduling opponents, evidenced by the fact that its game against the
College of Faith has been cancelled. Though, landing a game with Grambling State has to be considered
a major coupe.
VUL still just plays one game in Lynchburg this season. Though two games -- one in Roanoke and one in
Petersburg -- are considered home games. Bailey sees them as an opportunity to expand the program's
geographic footprint and presence in central Virginia.
This year the roster is still in flux as a number of players transferred into the school and Bailey brought in
a large freshman class. There are about 60 players in the program of that, there are 16 combined juniors
"We have good people in every area, but we can't afford to lose many," Bailey said. "We have had a lot
of people transfer from other universities and a lot of freshman, but we are going to give them a sound
system of football and hope for the best."
Bailey did find some keepers from last year. The Dragons return their top rusher, sophomore running
back Macha Shinoster. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry. They also return three of their top four pass
receivers. On defense they return four of their top five tacklers.
Willard Bailey, second year, 4-6
4-6, 0-3 USCAA
The Dragons return their leading rusher, sophomore running back Macha Shinoster. Shinoster lead the
team in rushing yards with 767 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Avery
Neloms is the only returner at quarterback to have played on the team last year. Three of the top four
pass receivers return from last year including Daray Crawford, who lead the team with 18 receptions.
Depth will be a problem. Senior Ronnie Dixon will anchor the offensive line.
The secondary returns three juniors that finished in the top 10 on last year's defense in tackles. Derron
Hall was third with 40 stops, Monte Robinson fifth with 32 and Dontra Matthews (Leesburg High
School, Palatka, Florida) was eight with 22. Sophomore linebacker Marquevi Myers was second on
team in tackles (59) last season. Sophomore defensive lineman Mike Chatman was fourth on last year's
team in tackles.
"We had a typical program of one being brought back (for the first tine since 1954)," Bailey said. "We had
had every problem you could imagine, but I take my hat off to players coaches and administration for
working together to eliminate as many of these problems as we could. Our goal as always is to go
undefeated and have our young men aspire to be honor students."
They have some talent. Depth and inexperience will be concerns on both sides of the ball for Bailey as
there are only a combined 16 juniors and seniors listed on the roster. The Dragons are also facing a
tough schedule that includes just one true home game, but four wins last year was impressive. It will
difficult for VUL to register four wins for the second time.
: 2- 8
Date Opponent Time Location
Sept. 1, Ohio Dominican, 6 p.m., Columbus, Ohio
The Panthers return 17 starters off of last year's squad that won five of its last six games and finished
with a 7-4 record.
Sept. 15, North Carolina A&T, 1 p.m. Greensboro, N.C.
The Aggies defeated VUL 38-7 last season. The Dragons must stop MEAC preseason player of the year
running back, Michael Mayhew.
Sept. 22, UNC Pembroke, 1 p.m., Roanoke, Va. (William Fleming High)
VUL will need to slow the Braves passing attack led by quarterback Luke Charles.
Sept. 29, Southern Virginia, 1 p.m., Buena Vista, Va.
The Knights will rely heavily on sophomore running back Jerry Washington, who rushed for 906 yards
and 15 TDs on his way to being named second team NAIA All-Independent honors.
Oct. 6, Concordia-Selma, 1 p.m., Selma, Ala.
The Hornets return 16 layers off of a team that went 6-4 in 2011.
Oct. 13, Wesley College, 1 p.m., Dover, Del.
The Wolverines handed the Dragons their worst defeat of the season last year (46-0) and enter the
season the third ranked Division III in the country.
Oct. 20, Grambling State University, 2 p.m., Grambling, La.
The Tigers are led by the Southwest Athletic Conference's preseason player of the year running back
Nov. 3, Alderson-Broaddus, noon, Petersburg, Va. (Tri-City Classic, Cameron Field)
The Battlers are returning to the football field for the first time this season since 1930.
Nov. 10, North Greenville, 1 p.m., Tigerville, S.C.
The Crusaders are ranked 23rd in the AFCA Division II preseason poll. They are led on offensive by a
pair preseason all-American wide receivers.
Nov. 17, Edward Waters College, 1 p.m., Lynchburg, (Senior Day, City Stadium)
The Tigers defeated VUL 29-21 last season, their first without a losing record since they returned to the
football field in 2004 after a 34-year hiatus. ___
(c)2012 The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.)
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