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The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Harvey Wilhelm
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Football Set to Tackle Cornell in Season Closer

The 2013 Grinnell College football season is almost complete, with only one game remaining, against the Cornell College Rams this Saturday, Nov. 16.

The Pioneers are currently ranked eighth out of 11 teams in the Midwest Conference (MWC) with a conference record of 2-6 and overall record of 2-7. They have defeated Beloit College and Lawrence University, but have struggled to consistently achieve success on the field.

Colton Feller ’14 and Jacob Beecher ’16 bringing down a St. Norbert player. Photograph by Alysia Horcher.

Offensive lineman Morgan Kinsinger ’14 and linebacker David Ternes ’15 both received accolades this season for their impressive performances. Kinsinger was featured on the NCAA website, as well as on the Des Moines TV station KCCI, which ran a news story about his ability to succeed in football after overcoming a battle with cancer and numerous injuries. Ternes was named MWC Football Defensive Performer of the Week on Monday, Nov. 4 for his remarkable performance against Lawrence University with 16 tackles. He currently leads the MWC with 121 total tackles.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Pioneers put together all the pieces they needed for a victory against Lawrence University. Quarterback Sam Poulos ’16 led the way on offense with 363 passing yards, while wide receiver Jacob Meixler ’15 had 203 total receiving yards, 10 catches and one touchdown.

Many Grinnell team members had strong defensive efforts as well, including Ternes, Seth Gustafson ’14, Andrew Clark ’14 and Kevin Hwang ’14. Twice Lawrence came within five yards of Grinnell’s goal line, and twice Ternes put a stop to the drive with tackles on fourth down.

Ternes and head coach Jeff Pedersen ’02 agree that a strong, united team effort resulted in the victory.

“We played as one that game. Everyone—special teams, offense and defense finally came together for a full four quarters,” Ternes said.

“[The Lawrence game] was just a complete team effort. The defense had three red zone stops, plus forcing three turnovers, and on offense there was maybe only once or twice when we didn’t turn it over, and we had a lot of passing yards. So, pretty much everybody on the team had a big contribution and it was fun to get the win,” Pedersen added.

The following Saturday, Nov. 9, the Pioneers took a 0-23 loss against the number one MWC-ranked St. Norbert Green Knights. Grinnell defense put up a tough fight, holding St. Norbert well under their season average of 325.2 yards per game at 185 total offensive yards. The offense struggled to put points on the board after quarterback Sam Poulos ’16 went down early with an ankle injury. Senior quarterback T.J. Goetz ’14 played the remainder of the game for the Pioneer offense.

“I was excited for T.J., but it was a windy day and we’re mainly a passing team and the wind and the cold was kind of all against us. He played pretty well considering everything we had going against us, but once we got down, we never really got back up,” Kinsinger said.

Grinnell will have one more opportunity to collect a third victory this weekend against Cornell College at home for Senior Day. Cornell is currently ranked fourth in the MWC with a conference record of 6-2 and an overall record of 6-3. The Rams are riding a two-win streak coming into this weekend’s game, having defeated number two-ranked Illinois College and number six-ranked Carroll University over the last two Saturdays.

“Cornell is on a roll; they’re probably as hot as any team in the league right now. They’ve had a couple big wins in a row. We’re taking that as a rivalry game now, and the guys are pretty excited,” Pedersen said.

According to Kinsinger, it will be a feeling of having unfinished business from last year’s game against Cornell that fuels Grinnell’s efforts this weekend.

“Last year [Cornell] came out hard, and they kicked our butts the first half. We bounced back big in the second half. We had a big comeback, had the ball and if we had scored we would have won the game, but we got stopped. We’re going to try to ride that momentum from last year’s game—the second half at least—and be able to kind of piece some stuff together. One of the biggest keys is to build on what we succeeded with last year,” Kinsinger said.

Additionally, the Pioneers will have the advantage of playing in front of a home crowd on Senior Day this weekend. Pedersen is hopeful that the seniors will see a happy ending to their Grinnell College football careers.

“Let’s get a bunch of people out there to send the seniors off with a positive note. Those guys were freshmen my first year as a head coach, so I’ve been through a lot with them. They’ve had a lot of successes and some frustrations as well, so I just hope to end it on a positive note with those guys,” Pedersen said.

Come out and support the seniors and the entire Grinnell football team in their final game of the season at Rosenbloom Field this Saturday, Nov. 16 at 12 p.m.

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