Greyhounds: We’re on our way

drew.kochanny

Looking to end the season on a positive note, the Northern Michigan football team will head to Indiana this weekend to take on the University of Indianapolis.

The Wildcats now stack up at 2-7 on the season, coming off a 45-14 home loss to Grand Valley State on Senior Day. The Greyhounds head into the matchup at 4-6 on the year, also coming off a loss, 44-37 to conference foe Ashland last Saturday.

Head coach Bernie Anderson knows the Wildcats have a difficult path to victory, having not yet won on the road this season.

“It’s important (to end strong). We’ve only got one left and they only have one left, so I’m sure both teams are going to come out and play hard,” Anderson said. “We’ve got to do it on the road, but I think this team is learning how to play hard. And I expect them to play hard.”

The Greyhounds feature the second-ranked rush offense in the GLIAC, and are led by senior running back Craig Jenkins. On the season, Jenkins is second in the conference in rushing with 1,140 yards and eight touchdowns.

A key matchup Saturday will be between Jenkins and junior linebacker Nathan Yelk. Yelk, who despite being hampered by injury this season, ranks fourth in the conference in tackles per game, averaging over 11, with 79 in seven games.

Perhaps the most inspired matchup, will be that of the Indy seniors and Northern seniors, who will all be playing in their final collegiate football game, as playoff berths for both teams are out of reach.

Last week’s loss on Senior Day — along with a combined record of 13-36 over four years — wasn’t how many of the seniors had envisioned their collegiate football career ending, but many look back without regret.

“I’ve learned a lot. Obviously, it isn’t the career you dream of, going into college football, but I would never not come back here,” senior defensive back Alex Grignon said. “I’m proud to be a Northern Michigan Wildcat and always will be.”

In his career, Grignon, who has played both linebacker and safety, has accounted for 138 tackles as a four year starter. Grignon is also the only true senior of the class, having never taken a redshirt season.

Senior offensive linemen Kris Krempien doesn’t look back with disappointment either.

“I’ve learned a lot here, learned a lot about football and about life,” Krempien, a four-year-starter at right tackle and two-time all-conference honoree, said. “So if you go by the wins and losses, you could say so, but there’s a lot more to football than just that.”

A high point Saturday came from senior quarterback Vincent Church, who received his first playing time as a Wildcat, late in the fourth quarter against Grand Valley. Church connected with redshirt freshman receiver Kyle Senn for a 33-yard touchdown on his second — and possibly last– pass as a Wildcat.

“I didn’t think twice about, ‘What if I screw up.’ I just went out there and ran some plays,” Church said. “Obviously I know the offense, so it wasn’t anything new. It was exciting, though.”

Other Wildcat seniors include wide receiver Fred Wells, fullback Bubba Harris, wide receiver Dan Elmore, defensive back Cody Wheeler, defensive lineman Tim Larson, offensive lineman Cody Hanson, defensive lineman Nicholas Behling and offensive lineman Luke Domitrovich.

Game time with the Greyhounds is set for 2:30 p.m. in Indianapolis, Ind.