The Maroon football team made its longest journey of the season this past weekend as it headed to San Antonio, Texas to take on the Trinity Tigers.
Chicago (5–0) kept its perfect season intact, scoring all its points in the first quarter and fending off the Tigers (1–5) with a final score of 14–7.
“Our coaches put in a lot of work to come up with plays that would work against Trinity University’s defense and make sure our offense was ready to run those plays,” third-year tight end Nathan Massey said. He caught the second of two touchdowns for Chicago on a 13-yard reception.
“The offensive line did a great job blocking and I had my number called, so I just gave it my all and got positive plays for the team,” Massey said.
On the defensive side, notable performers included second-year linebacker Jackson Garrey (14 tackles, one sack) and third-year defensive back Vincent Beltrano (10 tackles).
“Our defensive coordinator, coach Bo Flowers, emphasizes the fact that with preparation comes confidence,” Beltrano said. “[W]hen you’re confident in what you see, in what you read, and most importantly in your teammates and yourself, it takes a lot of the thinking—or over-thinking—out of the game, and you can just react.”
Beltrano also credited the “elite run-stoppers” on defense for his ability to make plays.
Although the team did get off to a quick start, the offense was silenced for the remaining three quarters. Fourth-year running back Zak Ross-Nash credited the defense’s two turnovers as crucial to both scoring drives as they both put the team in good field position. Ross-Nash was responsible for over 60 percent of Chicago’s yards, as he finished the afternoon with 101 yards on the ground.
“Coach Wilkerson focuses our program around three central pillars: accountability, adaptability, and toughness,” Ross-Nash said. “[W]e knew that we would have to adapt to the situation at hand in order to come out on top. Traveling is never great on the body.”
When asked about the added pressure of remaining undefeated, there was a general consensus among the players that the team as a whole has been, and continues to be, unconcerned.
“I don’t think anyone is feeling any more pressure than we felt at the beginning of the year. We feel that we have a very talented team, and we don’t think we’ve ‘upset’ anyone we’ve played,” Garrey said. “Every game we’ve been in, we came in expecting that if we executed and did our jobs that we would come out on top. We’re exactly where we expected to be at the beginning of the season.”
The Maroons will travel up to Minnesota this weekend to face the Bethel Royals (4–1), who Garrey believes may be the team’s toughest opponent to date.
Chicago kicks off to defend its season at 1 p.m. at Bethel on Saturday.