With a perfect record for the season, both overall and in conference, the Cru football team has high hopes of making it far into playoffs. However, the men still have two more conference games to win before the regular season is over.
One thing that has aided the season has been their strength in becoming a team and one collective group of athletes.
Senior exercise and sport science major and wide receiver Tariekus Ellis said, “Teamwork plays a huge part in our success. We constantly stress to each other that we win by playing ‘together’ on all three phases of the game — offense, defense and special teams.”
The goals of the team for the rest of the season are simple. Members want to improve their performance, win the next two games and secure a place for playoffs.
Ellis said they want “to get better each week. I know that sounds typical, but that is actually one of our goals. The coaches always tell us we can only control what we do, so we go out every practice striving to improve on the little things and fundamentals.”
In the Oct. 22 game against the East Texas Baptist University Tigers, Ellis returned the opening kickoff of the second half 98 yards for a touchdown. The kickoff tied for the second-longest in school history. With the play, Ellis was named American Southwest Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
He said, “It’s a huge honor. I’m just glad I could give the team the spark that we needed to get going. We started clicking after that. The blocking on that play was great and the perfect return call.”
Head Coach Pete Fredenburg knows that a few key things about his team have led to the good season.
“Number one, we have very dedicated players, and they are very committed to playing at a high level. There is a very high expectation here, not from the coaches, but from the players and that feeds off of itself, and it raises the play for everybody,” he said.
Another important factor for the season success has been the coaches who have worked with the players since summer.
Fredenburg said, “We are blessed with some outstanding coaches that get them in the right position and help them with their success.”
Junior math major and running back Darius Wilson credits a perfect season with the amount of work the team put in at practice each week.
“We have been able to win by being consistent with hard work during practice. We overwork our bodies for the upcoming game,” he said. “So when game time is upon us, we are well prepared.”
Along with Ellis, Wilson also thinks that working together and the bonds that have formed this season make Cru football the team that can go all the way to the Stagg Bowl.
“Teamwork is what keeps the blood in our team. We feed off of team chemistry,” Wilson said. “We create bonds that can’t be broken and gain trust from one another. It is the key to any successful program.”
With the season quickly coming to an end, the team strives to keep being consistent with its play and perfect every aspect of the game.
“You are always striving to get better in all facets of it, whether it be the running game, the throwing game or whatever. We obviously want to improve in all areas,” Fredenburg said. “And we try to bring our team closer together because guys that really care about each other are the strongest.”