JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Bucs head coach George Quarles grinned as he recalled a conversation he had with members of his staff on Sunday.

“It’s kind of amazing, sometimes, that you couldn’t just stumble into a win,” he chuckled. “You think you’d stumble along and win one of those games.”

With the exception of the Mercer matchup, Quarles believes ETSU (3-7, 1-7 SoCon) has been in position to win just about every conference contest. However, they’ve won just the one against VMI.

There’s just one opponent left on the 2022 slate for the Bucs – a strangely-timed trip to Mississippi State on Saturday.

After one of the most successful seasons in history last fall, the Blue and Gold are out of the running for back-to-back SoCon titles, or even a shot at the postseason. But, this group is refusing to go quietly into the offseason.

Thanks to a special message delivered by Reverend Rayford Johnson a few weeks ago, the team will attack this final week of the season with a purpose.

“There’s going to be struggles in your life and you use football to help you get through those struggles,” Quarles said. “That’s going to be my message this week – we’ve got to see this thing through.”

“Seeing it through,” ETSU redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Fred Norman Jr. echoed. “Obviously, things have not gone the way we want it to out here, that’s how life is. You may not get how much money you want on your pay raise – you’ve gotta keep going.”

“Sometimes, life throws you curveballs, and the coaching staff lets us know that,” sophomore defensive back Sheldon Arnold II said. “They kinda give us that in practice and in games, after games, just to let us know and help us learn a lesson. It’s not just football at the end of the day – it’s bigger than the game.”

The season finale with Mississippi State is slated for 12 p.m. EST in Starkville on Saturday.