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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Football is Back

Quarterback Grayson Woodhouse ’24 scrambling out of his pocket while Rockford defenders chase him down. Contributed by Ted Schultz

On Saturday, Sep. 4, the Grinnell College football team stormed the field for the first time in 705 days in their season opener against Rockford University.  

Despite struggles over the first three quarters, running back Danny Carter `22 and wide receiver Dustin Saia `22 both scored touchdowns in the fourth quarter – the College’s first touchdowns since November 2018. 

“I joked with my coaches that it was almost poetic because Dustin and I were a big part of the offense in 2018 as freshmen, so it’s kind of cool that we were the ones that were able to score,” said Carter, who is one of the team’s captains. 

Still, despite, Grinnell’s resurgence in the fourth quarter, by the time the final whistle blew, Rockford had come out on top with a final score of 48-13.  

Grinnell’s football team, which had its 2019 season canceled due to injuries and a dwindled roster of 28, has now reached its largest size in program history with a total of 57 players.  

“It was pretty special to be able to get out there again and have an opportunity to play my senior year … I just felt pretty fortunate,” said Carter.   

Quarterback Cole Inselman `25 is one of many first-year players who had the chance to compete in their first NCAA football game this past weekend.

“Just to be in a college football game is just, it’s a dream come true,” he said.  

One challenge Head Coach Brent Barnes identified from the game was beginner mistakes, which he says are natural when players start competition at the college level for the first time. The College brought Barnes in as head coach in the fall of 2019 following the team’s season cancellation, so this game marked Barnes’s first time seeing the Grinnell team play in their athletic season. 

Due to recent recruiting efforts by the coaching staff following the cancellation of the 2019 season, the team is largely made up of younger players. Of the 57 players on the roster, only eight have played in more than three college football games. 

Regardless, Coach Barnes says the team simply needs time to grow.  

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said. “Youth gives you an excuse for maybe a month. At some point, you need to produce, and I think our players will.” 

At the same time, Coach Barnes noted the team’s reliance on its younger players as a driving factor that has made them a more cohesive group. “It’s a very close-knit team, I think maybe closer than it’s been in the past,” he said. “That is certainly going to help us as we continue to go through this season.” 

In addition, recruiting efforts have instilled confidence that the team will continue to compete in years to come. “From a program [perspective] and a longer-term perspective it’s laid a foundation for the future of the program,” said Barnes.  

Looking towards the rest of the season, Carter is feeling hopeful, particularly after the team showed its ability to score on Saturday. “Our goal no longer is just to score or, you know, participate; we want to start winning football games,” Carter said. “This is not the outcome we wanted, but there’s a lot of good here. Whether the score reflects it or not, if you were there in the stands or on the field you recognize that we are a different team than we were in 2019.” 

The Grinnell College football team will face off against Monmouth College this Saturday, Sep. 11, and host its home opener at Rosenbloom Field on Saturday, Sep. 18 against Lawrence University.   

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