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Stephen A. Smith – Guest Writer
In a piece of shocking news, Dordt College, a NAIA team, announced that their first non-conference football game next season will be against the University of Alabama. Dordt Head Coach Joel Penner said, “I’m very excited to be able to face an Alabama team that is obviously very well known for very good reason. It will be a really big test for our program, and I think it will be a great learning experience for our players.”
A powerhouse in the SEC, Alabama has been looking for easier non-conference games to grant them a better chance at finishing in the College Football Playoff. Alabama isn’t swarmed by teams looking for a beating, so they add extra incentive for smaller schools to come play. In Dordt College’s case, they will receive ten wheelbarrows full of $20 bills to play the Crimson Tide.
Dordt’s position coaches were more than excited about the prospect of playing Alabama. Running backs and tight ends coach Griffin Pelot said, “Alabama? We’re gonna win by at least 30.” Wide receivers coach Ben Dixon was so excited that he already started game planning. He already watches hours of film on Alabama on most days. “I just need my guys to be as prepared as they can be going in to that game. If that means that I need to watch three or more hours of film a day for a year, then I’ll do it”, Dixon said. Safeties coach Nathan Endemano had other plans for when Dordt would face Alabama. “If I get a chance to be in the presence of Nick Saban, I’d definitely do anything I could to get on his coaching staff. Even if I had to start as a water boy and work my way up to a coaching position after five years of hard work, I’d do it.”
Dordt players were both excited and a little wary of playing Alabama. While many players were celebrating the news, multiple offensive linemen voiced their concerns about having to protect their quarterback from Alabama’s premier pass rush. Most players were simply happy that they will play a team that people actually recognize. One player speaking on the condition of anonymity said, “When we play teams like Midland or Dakota Wesleyan, my friends back home and other people don’t know who they are. Playing a team like Alabama means that my friends will stop giving me crap for playing teams that nobody’s ever heard of before.”
Scheduling Alabama as their non-conference game is an important step for Dordt’s football team. For a program that only started in 2007 as a club team, Dordt has come a long way in a short time. Dordt finished their 2018 season with a 7-3 record, good enough for third in their conference. With the influx of money expecting to be experienced from the Alabama game, along with the national exposure, it is expected that Dordt’s football team will be able to use the Alabama game to launch its program into the next level of NAIA teams.
The game will take place on August 31st in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the hallowed Bryant-Denny Stadium, which has a full capacity of 101,821.
This game will be a large step for Dordt College in the direction of future successes in the sport, and it will surely be an unforgettable experience for the players and fans.