Sawyer Strelnieks–Staff Writer
The Dordt football team won 38-19 in their conference matchup vs. Concordia last Saturday. The team has a current record of 3-1 and is aiming for their first winning season as a program.
Focusing on opponents one week at a time, the team had their eyes set on Concordia this past week. The past two years Dordt fell short as they faced off to Concordia. They made strides during practice to fix their mistakes from previous games to gain a win.
This year’s team is full of leadership as they teach one another to play for much more than just wins on the field. Playing to honor God, compete fiercely, and having a kingdom impact off the football field, are all aspects the team feels will lead to a winning program.
“Being a captain on this team is very different than other teams,” said Devin Eekhoff, a senior captain. “We have probably 10 other guys on this team that could be captains as well, so those guys make leading super easy because even though they don’t go up for the coin toss, they are as much leaders of this team as we are.”
The team this year has strived for growth, as players and men, every time they step on the field. They are hoping this growth will pay off later in the season when the team has struggled in years past.
“We are looking to beat some really good teams,” said Tyson Dahlgrin, a senior captain. “And ultimately create a chance for playoffs.”
The cold weather of October and November has not fared well with the program in years past. In spite of this, many of the players are looking forward to changing this season even though they face the challenges of weather and tough teams.
“I think this team has the depth and mentality to succeed in the second half of the schedule,” said Keithen Drury, a senior captain. “One of our goals is to beat Northwestern. We will have that opportunity next week. If we play our best game, then I know we can beat them and notch our first win in the series versus NWC.”
Although adversity has hit the team early this year with injuries and a tough loss to Doane a few weeks ago, the team has responded well with young players stepping up to fill positions. The team is looking at making a jump this year by overcoming obstacles.
“Our rally cry this season is ‘tip the rock’,” said Joel Penner, the team’s head coach. “Which basically means that our program needs to make a jump this year. We need to take out some obstacles in our way that have previously stunted our progress.”
“Tip the rock” was an idea the team came up with when they went on a camping trip to Wyoming earlier this year. In order to be the team that they want to become, they need to get the ball rolling, or a rock in this case.
Once the rock is rolling, its momentum will keep it going and nothing can get in its way to slow it down. The team strives to build momentum early in the season and use it to transition them into the second half of the season.
The team’s greatest obstacle they face is the temptation of being less than they could be. With a 3-1 record already this year, the team has made a statement as a program and looks to continue to sharpen their focus on “tipping the rock” as they face each opponent.