Marcus Jones knows the start of football season is right around the corner. Jones, a brilliant running back for Cheyney University’s football team, is preparing for his season opener. And it’s a big one.
Cheyney University will visit arch rival Lincoln University on Sept. 1 in the “Battle of the Firsts.” The kickoff will be at 1 p.m.
Cheyney and Lincoln are two of the oldest Black colleges in the country. Both of these HBCUs (Historically Black College and University) will battle each other in what should be a real classic. It certainly was an exciting contest last year with Cheyney edging Lincoln, 21-19. Of course, this is a new year, and Jones is looking forward to the matchup.
“It’s a big game,” said Jones, a Washington, D.C. native. “We had a great attendance with the fans. We had a lot of people there. I was surprised with how many people were there. I’m glad we were able to come away with a win.”
Jones, a 5-foot-8, 225-pound junior, has been a real bright spot for the Wolves’ offense. He has consistently been one of the best running backs in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). Jones has 275 rushing attempts in his first two seasons combining for more than 1,500 yards. He has been tackled for a loss of just 10 yards. He’s set on having another big season carrying the football.
“I’ve been working on my quickness,” Jones said. “I’m trying to build speed. Last year, I could have scored a lot of runs. I got tackled a few times from behind. This year I’m just trying to get faster. I’ve been running hills, sprints, hitting the weights and everything. I want to get stronger and faster.”
Ken Lockard, Cheyney head coach, has been very impressed with Jones. Lockard knows the Wolves have a running back who can pick up good yardage and move the chains.
“Everybody knows Marcus,” Lockard said. “He gained 1,500 plus yards in two seasons. We’re looking for some great things from him again. The thing I’m looking for the most is leadership. He’s not a vocal guy. But he does everything he’s asked to do. He does what he’s supposed to do. He’s a leader by example.”
The Wolves finished with a 1-10 record last year. Cheyney’s record is a little misleading. They had a chance to win at least two other games. They dropped a couple tough decisions to Millersville (10-7) and East Stroudsburg (10-6). The Wolves are hoping to be a lot more competitive in the PSAC.
“We’re getting better,” Jones said. “We had a lot of guys come out in the spring. We brought in a lot of recruits. We have some good players returning, too. Our roster looks a lot better than it did in previous years.”