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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Football Wins First Game of the season, Faces A tougher Foe on Saturday at Home

Logan Granera ’13 goes up for a pass while marked by Kelsey Davis ’12 during practice last week. Photograph by Andew Kelley.

By Max Calenberg

Returning from their first winning season in six years, the Grinnell Football team is anxious to prove they’re more than a one hit wonder. The Pioneers took the first step in proving their staying power with an impressive 31-6 victory over Malcalester College this past Saturday, Sept. 3.

“Our defense was awesome. That was one of our better defensive performances in a long time,” said Head Coach Jeff Pedersen ’02. “I think Macalester is on par with where they were last year offensively, and we gave up 35 last year and only six this year.”
Defensively, the Pioneers were led by Kevin Hwang ’14 and Kelsey Davis ’12, who each were credited with eight tackles.

“Me, Kevin, [Jeremy Wiles ’14] and […] Drew [Blumberg ’13], we really feed off each other’s energy. [Jeremy] is a real big talker,” Davis said. “Kevin likes to talk a little bit when he gets excited and he can hit hard […] he has good coverage abilities, he’s just an all around good player for us.”

The Pioneer offense was spurred by Rob Seer ’12, who was named the Midwest Conference Performer of the week for catching seven passes for 191 yards. Quarterback Mike McCabe ’13 threw for 332 yards on 21 for 39 passing, adding 51 rushing yards. Seer’s biggest play of the day came on a 5-yard pass he extended to an 80-yard touchdown, a feat he attributes largely to factors other than himself.

“It was probably a combination of poor tackling by Macalester and just sort of getting lucky,” Seer said. “And I obviously got some really nice blocks, Cody Weber [’13] gave me a nice block and I’m sure some other guys had some nice blocks as well. That [play] just speaks of our whole offense, not just myself, we have four or five guys on offense that at any moment can turn a 5-yard pass or run into a 60, 70 or 80-yard touchdown.”

Despite the large margin of victory of Saturday’s game, the Pioneers are remaining modest and focused, a testament to what a difference a year can make.

“They expected to win, so last year it was more excited jubilation on Sunday morning,” Pedersen said. “This Sunday it was just business as usual.”

The most evident difference is Pedersen himself, who took over for former Head Coach Max Hawsey at the beginning the 2010 season. That season, the team went 6-4 overall, 5-4 in the MWC and Pedersen was named the MWC Coach of the Year. Unsurprisingly, the player’s have nothing but praise for the changes Pedersen brought to the team.

“When he took over, I noticed an immediate change in attitude. He’s laid back but with a serious side,” Davis said. “There’s a very fine line that he tries to keep the team on, between having a good time and having fun while playing and being serious, being focused. The game, and being in the program, is much funner than it was my first two years.”

Another noticeable change this season from last is the mere size of the players. Players knew they were going to have to bulk up to compete with traditional Titans of the MWC, Monmouth College and St. Norbert.
Davis, who switched from Wide Receiver to Safety halfway through last season, gained 35 pounds over the off-season.

“Everyone on the team has worked really hard and gained astronomical amounts on [weight lifting] maxes. Were just as a unit, stronger, bigger and faster,” Davis said.

The Pioneers will face their first true test of the season when they host Monmouth, who they beat last year for the first time in 10 years, on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1:00 p.m.

“They’ve got a lot of guys returning, some who played against us and some that were hurt, so they’re going to loaded, ready to go. They’re the pre-season runner-up, behind St. Norbert […] according to the pre-season polls,” Pedersen said. “But our guys, they’re going to come out and be aggressive. I think we just want to set the tone early that last year was not a fluke, we’re here to play and give it our best shots.”
Last year the team watched “Miracle” on the bus ride to Monmouth, Ill. Considering their newfound confidence, that seems an unlikely choice for a film at any point this year.

“We expect to win,” Seer said.

You can watch the Pioneer’s (1-0) take on the Monmouth Fighting Scots (0-1) at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 on Grinnell’s own Rosenbloom Field.

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