Football team to kick off season

AnnMarie Kent

As the preseason winds down, the 2016 campaign for the men’s football team is ready to pick up as they head to Ohio to begin the season.

re-football.JMThe air in the dome was almost electric Tuesday afternoon while players warmed up for practice. Guys grinned as they caught passes and laughed as they stretched their legs­—it was clear the first game of the season was imminent.

“Oh I think you spend five minutes with these guys, you see how excited they are to play,” head coach Chris

Ostrowsky said. “The culture is great. We had a hard training camp, they worked hard at it. It’s exciting. A lot of energy, and a lot of passion.”

Senior quarterback Shaye Brown said he can feel the excitement in the team.

“It’s been a long camp, a long winter, and a long summer,” Brown said. “So everybody’s about ready for a game.”
The Wildcats start the season on Saturday in Painesville, Ohio playing against the Lake Erie College Storm.

Ostrowsky said starting a season on the road is a challenge, but despite that the ’Cats need to keep a level head.

“I think we’re going to have to play with a level of maturity that’s indicative of going on the road in Ohio, and playing a conference game in a great football conference,” Ostrowsky said.

“The good news is there’s about 30 guys of our 54-man travel team that have traveled with us, so they’ve
been here.” Ostrowsky expects a lot of that maturity to come from the leaders on the team, and their leadership should give the team an advantage on game day.

“I think whenever you play the first game of the year there’s always the unknown, how our guys are going to respond when the lights come on,” Ostrowsky said.

“You truly just never know how guys are going to respond to game situations. ”

Out of the 111 players on the 2016 roster, 38 of those guys are freshmen. Senior linebacker Matt Boonstra is excited to see what they’ll do this weekend.

“We’ve got some talented young kids across the board,” Boonstra said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids that made the [travel] bus, so we’ll see what they can do.”

Brown, though, sees good things out of the freshmen already.

“A lot of [the freshmen] are coming along faster than I thought they would,” Brown said.

“They look eager, they look hungry. Every year we’ve been getting better and better freshmen, talentwise. I think what’s different this year is the freshmen that came in are more dedicated to being great later on in their career.”

Ostrowsky believes in the leadership of captains Brown, Boonstra, senior defensive back C.J. Washington and senior defensive line Jared Vuksan to help the team along this season.

“I think our four captains speak for themselves,” Ostrowsky said.

“They’re great leaders. They’re wonderful ambassadors to the program. I expect those to be the guys that steer the ship, if you will, to navigate us through the season.”

For those four seniors and every other senior on the team this is the last first game of college football. Brown, though, said he is taking in all of the bittersweet moments.

“It’s been a long road, I’m just ready to go out with a bang and just enjoy every moment,” Brown said. “It’s the last time I’m going to be able to suit up for the Wildcats, so I’m just going to enjoy the moment.”