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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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

Football moves to 4-1, strongest start since 1999

As the parents visited campus last weekend, the Pioneers played a game that was sure to bring a smile to any mom or dad’s face. Grinnell defeated Beloit College 24-21.

The Pioneers’ record stands at 4-1, which means they are off to their best start since 1999. This astounding season has tasted particularly sweet for the older players and fans of the Pioneers who have waited quite a while for a string of consistent and successful games.

Football Grinnell v Beloit
Logan Granera '13 reaches back to make a 20-yard catch ahead of C.J. Yoakum '11 deep in Beloit territory during the second quarter of the Pioneers' 24-21 victory over Beloit College at Rosenbloom Field on Saturday - Ben Brewer

“We’ve been close a lot of times, where we would look at different games and say we could have won them but we didn’t, so it’s pretty rewarding for some older players to get these wins,” said Head Coach Jeff Pedersen.

While the success of this season may have taken fans by surprise, the players have had an unusual faith in themselves from the get-go. The level of talent on the team and the new coaching strategy struck a chord with the Pioneers in preseason and never let up.

“We knew right away the coaching was going to have a different mentality and that has helped,” said running back T.J. Schaid ’13. “We were really young last year, and so we didn’t really manifest our talent, but this year we are doing that.”

In terms of offense the Pioneers have certainly been turning heads around the Conference, especially in passing, where the team has 1,545 yards and over 400 more than their nearest opponent.

“We have some things that the conference hasn’t seen, we’ve been keeping teams on their toes,” said quarterback Mike Bogard ’12. “Mike McCabe [‘13] and I have been in on some of the same plays for instance.”

The defense has also been tenacious this year and it was their play that secured the victory for Grinnell last Saturday when the offense was struggling in the second half.

“We were moving the ball, we just couldn’t finish our drives,” said wide receiver Logan Granera ’13. “Fortunately our defense stepped up big and got stops when we really needed them,”

The nail-biting game Saturday that saw the Pioneers’ lead dwindle down to only three points also saw the offense fail to complete their third down opportunities.

“We were two for thirteen, which is obviously unacceptable,” Bogard said. “Overall we just need to stick to what we were doing in the first half and clean up our play on third downs.”

Despite the struggles on third down opportunities, the offense did succeed in preventing Beloit from building up too much momentum.

“The things we did well in the second half were that we slowed down the clock, ran the ball better than we had all year and were able to shorten the game,” Pedersen said.

The team showed a higher level of maturity in the game this past Saturday, controlling their frustrations because of a lack of execution on offense. It was this sort of discipline that allowed the Pioneers to stay ahead just long enough to pull out the victory.

“At the end of the day we were able to hang on to the ball, get enough first downs and hold on to the lead,” said wide receiver Robert Seer ’12. “It shows we are a good team in that we were able to overcome our frustration and still get the victory.”

Though the team sits in a comfortable place in terms of the standings, they know that only half the season is over and they need to keep practicing the “stay humble and hungry” motto that they preach.

“We can’t get caught up in all the things we are reading in the S&B and online, we have to stay humble, and stay hungry, because the reason we are winning these games is because of that,” Pedersen said.

Looking ahead to the game at Knox College this upcoming Saturday, the team knows that due to Knox’s 0-5 record they will be desperate, dangerous and willing to try anything to win.

“They’re backed into a corner, they’re willing to try anything,” Pedersen said. “They have moved running back over to defense, moving a safety over to offense, rotating quarterbacks, you just don’t know who they are going to try.”

The team also knows that in spite of their rousing success this season, on any given Saturday, the team that is more focused will inevitably come out on top.

“We might be the more physical team, the one with more momentum, but whoever is the more focused team, and whoever executes will be the team that will win this ball game,” Bogard said.

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