By Lindsey Holderby
While the weather may be cooling down, Cru football is just warming up for the rest of the season.
After their 52-12 domination against Southern Oregon University Oct. 15, UMHB football remains undefeated with a 6-0 overall record and 4-0 in American Southwest Conference.
Senior business management major and Crusader halfback Blake Dempsey said, “Our defense played amazing; our special teams started to really help us out and the offense realized some strengths and how we need to make some adjustments.”
It is obvious how extraordinary the Cru’s defense played with Korey Steward recovering a 52-yard fumble, Javicz Jones making 11 tackles, two interceptions and blocking a punt, and Ty Dooley leading the game with 15 tackles.
Geoff Myles returned a 72-yard punt for six points, LiDarral Bailey forced a touchdown from the one yard line, and Darius Wilson helped carry the game by running 100 yards.
Sophomore physical therapy major and wdefensive back J.C. Hickman said, “My goal is to be a positive influence on the team and to achieve a national championship. If we don’t win nationals, it will be a disappointment.”
Head Coach Pete Fredenberg and Dempsey hope that they will take home a national championship this year.
Team captains Blake Dempsey, Tucker Glaske, Chris Brent and Javicz Jones helped lead the Cru to its current four rank in both the American Football Coaches Association and the DIII Football’s Top 25 Poll.
Dempsey said, “Success chases hard work. Success may not always come when you want it, but if you work hard, it will come.”
They can win their division even with a loss, but they are not even settling with winning the division.
They have their eyes set on the top prize of a national championship.
But one loss makes them ineligible for the title, so they hope not to let one game go.
And which competitor are they most worried about?
Head Coach Fredenberg said, “As cliche as it sounds, we are always worried about our next opponent. Everyone knows how good we are, so they all are going to play their best. So we have to be prepared to fight every week.”
UMHB is known for its high performance standard in football. When players are recruited, they know expectations are high, so they have to be dedicated and give it their all every day.
Players describe characteristics needed to be a good football player and win games as having the will to succeed, dedication, resiliency and of course, athletic ability.
Dempsey said, “I feel like the leadership and bond between the players is really unique from other teams. I see my teammates as family and leadership plays a big role because we have a lot of younger guys. I’ve learned to become a more humble leader and to believe in the people around me so we can achieve our goal.”
Few would question the players’ dedication or their ability to succeed, but there is always room for improvement whether it is on or off the field.
Fredenberg said, “We are constantly working on overcoming apathy and complacency. Integrity is the one thing you can never sacrifice. It’s the one thing our players need to learn, to be trusted by others.”