By PETER MELLING
There is something sweet brewing at Griswold Stadium. In spite of going winless into the final week of the season, the Lewis & Clark football team is on the cusp of success.
The arrival of Head Coach Jay Locey and his staff, along with 35 rookie players, has opened up all sorts of potential for the squad. Even though they are not there yet, the 2015 Pioneers have set the groundwork for a winning tradition.
Locey’s arrival has done much to steer the team in the right direction. He expanded the coaching staff to 21 people, including two coaches from his days as the Head Coach of the Linfield College (Wide Receiver Coach James Yen and Quarterback Coach Jim Nagel). The larger coaching staff has been well-received by the players, and has given both veterans and first-years a greater support net.
“[Locey] and the entire coaching staff are heavily involved in all aspects of our team’s life. They make sure we’re in good academic standing and find the help we need if we find ourselves confused in a class or falling behind due to the hectic schedule. The program has a more serious feel to it, with more dedication all around,” said Deion Mock ’16.
The transition towards this new style of play has been a smooth one, due in no small part to the arrival of the 35 first-year athletes. Rookies presented themselves well on both offense and defense, with players like wide receiver Dejou Williams ’19 and quarterback Mike Machado ’19 injecting new life into the team. The seniors and other veterans have welcomed the first-years onto the team with open arms.
“I say as far as freshman, we’ve brought a ton of talented players into the program. Some have found themselves filling gaps in our depth chart and starting their first year. This year’s class is a hard-working group of athletes, they’ve picked up our teams system and are executing like veterans,” Mock said.
This atmosphere of camaraderie has brought the team into a far better position than in years past. The first-years have matured under the mentorship of the seniors, or as Locey called them, the “men of excellence.” Even though the team may not win a game this season, the foundation for the squad’s future success is certainly in place.
The team plays their final game of the season on Nov. 14, on the road against Whitworth University.