“They kept after it,” he said. “We overcame 10-plus penalties, turnovers and bad snaps.”
He was especially proud of his defense, a unit that stopped the Wildcats’ offense at the 1-yard line as time expired in the first half, forced an interception by Marcus Robinson and had several other big stops.
“I think there were a lot of turning points in this game, but that was huge,” McDonald said of the stop just before halftime. “Our defense was the one constant tonight.”
Offensively, even though not much was working with a slippery ball and poor field conditions, McDonald said getting the ball to Vaughn was a top priority.
“Caydin’s a guy we want to get the ball to,” he said. “We were having trouble doing anything all night long, but we finally relaxed enough to hit some simple passes, and Caydin’s a great runner with the ball.”
Now, with the pressure of winning that first game off their backs, the Hearts will shift their focus to next week’s homecoming game against Paris.
McDonald said he doesn’t expect much to change in practice this week, since his team has never lost focus even with a tough start to the season, but acknowledged that the win would probably help team morale.
“It’s huge for these guys,” he said. “To be able to come on the road and get a win, especially being down like we were, that’s just huge.”