By Jose Chatham
Football season is here again as the Moundbuilders look to get their first win of the season against Hastings College at the season opener Saturday at 6 p.m. in Richard L. Jantz stadium. With only a week of practice, Head Coach Bradd Griffin of Southwestern College states that he, “feels the energy and the players seem to be excited”.
“The focus has been really good in the short period of time we’ve had to get ready. We are extremely excited for Saturday, ready to finally get a chance to compete, and see what our team is about,” Griffin said.
With Hastings College having already played a game which gives them an advantage, they have already felt the competition and have been able to see what they need to fix. A lack of time to practice and prepare fully leaves the Moundbuilders with unanswered questions and challenges for how the team will perform in their first game.
“The most improvement from a team is game 1 to game 2. Hasting has already played a game and will have to be able to overcome the things they have gotten better at in their first week. They are a fast, physical team and we haven’t seen that game speed yet besides playing ourselves. As a coach you worry about, are we prepared and ready to play a team that has already played? It’s a wait and see thing,” Griffin said.
Having those questions unanswered you look to see who can and who has made an impact on your team to get the job done. That person on offense seems to be junior quarterback, Christian Gordan, who has really impressed Griffin this offseason.
“He’s really, really come a long way from his freshman to his junior year. He’s been here all summer working out. He’s really started to develop into a throwing quarterback, he’s always had the ability to run the ball. He’s worked extremely hard and it’s starting to pay off,” Griffin said.
As a coach, or a player, or even as a football fan you know defense wins championships. Griffin is the linebacker coach for the Moundbuilders aside from the Head Coaching position. Griffin is on the defensive side of the ball all of practice, and who has really stood out to him is junior defensive tackle, AJ Banks.
“I’m excited to see AJ, he is the anchor to that line and should be a great player for us,” Griffin said.
Coach Griffin seems to have all the pieces he needs to get the job done with players he’s had in the past few seasons. Some new blood has joined the Moundbuilders this offseason such as junior wide receiver Carvontez Gates. Gates is set out to have a great season, he plans to link up with Quarterback Christian Gordan as he prepares this weeks for his first game at Richard L. Jantz stadium.
“ I’m really focused and the team is doing what it needs to do to make sure we don’t go out of character, and doing things right to get this win on Saturday,” Gates said.
While Gates is prepared for the game, another Moundbuilder is prepared to make big moves this season because it’s his only season. As “a stand out player” mentioned by Griffin, senior running back Silas Jefferson plans just do that.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned by Coach Griffin. He’s a really great coach and we get along great, for coach to say I’m “a stand out player” that means a lot for me, it makes me want to go harder for my team, and to change the culture of this school to a winning one,” Jefferson said.
Coaches and players seem excited to get things started this Saturday in the first matchup of the season between Hastings College and the Moundbuilders.
Jose Chatham is a junior majoring in communication. You can email him at Jose.Chatham@sckans.edu