Reid, Winston-Salem State teammates use 2011 as motivation
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 30, 2012 1:48 PM
Season-ending defeats are never easy to forget. And even harder to swallow to when they occur in semifinal-round play of the NCAA Division II football playoffs.
Just ask Khendra Reid.
The Winston-Salem State senior vividly recalls the emotional loss to Wayne State (Mich.) in 2011 and said he, along with his teammates, have used that disheartening memory as motivation toward this season.
So far, the Rams have been on a roll.
WSSU successfully defended its Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title, earned an opening-round bye in the postseason and ousted Shippensburg (Pa.) University in second-round action of the 2012 Division II playoffs last Saturday.
The No. 2-ranked Rams (12-0 overall) play host to Indiana (Pa.) University on Saturday. Kick-off is 12 p.m.
"Losing in the national semifinals last year really hurt us," said Reid, a Charles B. Aycock alum. "We've used it as motivation for this year and hopefully it will carry us to the championship game, and we'll win it all. So far, everything is coming together like we wanted it to."
An outside linebacker, Reid has recorded 44 stops including 41/2 hits behind the line of scrimmage this season. He helps bolster a defense that has forced 38 turnovers and yields just 81.8 yards rushing per game.
The Rams surrendered just one touchdown in their 37-14 win over Shippensburg, and have held opponents to eight points or less in five games this season. Shippensburg's other touchdown was an interception return.
Indiana is a run-heavy team.
"We're good against the run," Reid said. "We know each other really well and have been playing with each other the last three years. As long as everyone does their job, we can't be stopped.
"We don't get down, fuss at each other, we just pick it up and keep moving. Everyone has contributed each game this season, and there has been a different person who has stepped up when their number is called."
Reid has blossomed into one of the Rams' top defenders on all-around team that has athleticism on both sides of the ball.
He's learned the system well and attempts to use that knowledge every time he steps onto the field on Saturday afternoons. His skill set has improved and he's gained considerable confidence.
A CIAA school has never appeared in the Division II national championship game. Reid and his teammates hope to change that part of the conference's and school's record books.
Winston-Salem State is one of four No. 1 regional seeds to advance to the elite eight along with Valdosta State (Ga.), Colorado State-Pueblo and Minnesota State-Mankato.
"We felt like our dreams were hurt last year," Reid said. "This picture is bigger than all of us and it's not about just one person. We want to win it for ourselves, our school and our community.
"We feel like this is our year and our time, and that we have the team do to it this year."
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