By MORGAN KING – STAFF WRITER
Centre football is quickly establishing itself as one of the premier teams in Division III. Set up this year with an impressive offensive line, a fighting attitude, and a leader who was recently named the winningest coach in Centre football history, the Colonels are making their way into a successful season.
After playing at Washington and Lee University on Sept. 20 and coming out on top at 28-23, the football team then looked to their game against Washington University of St. Louis.
“It will be our toughest game yet,” Head Coach Andy Frye said. Fueled by a desire to win, the Colonels defeated Washington University 50-20 on Sat., Sept. 27 during Family Weekend. The win moved Centre to an unblemished 4-0 on the season.
The Centre offensive was able to tally over 450 yards against the Bears defense. Senior quarterback Heath Haden threw for a season high of 244 yards and three scores. Sophomore running-back Nolan Coulter eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark for the third time in four games. Therefore it’s safe to say Centre Football is in good shape leading to their bye week.
Coach Frye has very high hopes for this team. Part of this hope comes from the incredible experience the team had this summer, playing in an exhibition game abroad in Ireland and defeating the Dublin Rebels 90-0 on May 31.
“It was a great experience for our football team but we do it purposely for a number of reasons,” Coach Frye said. “One, we get ten practices in pads by the NCAA in the spring so we are able to really practice football. The second, there is probably no better way to develop team chemistry and morale then to do something together that’s so uniquely different than what everyone else does.”
This team cohesion is definitely being seen so far this season. Not only are the Colonels undefeated, but members of the team have remarked on this group’s camaraderie as well.
“This was the best and furthest our offensive has been since we’ve been to camp. It was great because we’ve been prepared and working one or two weeks ahead of schedule,” Haden said.
Coach Frye agreed in celebrating the team’s advanced progress. “Our timing, our execution as a football team, we were just further ahead then the first (two) teams we have played,” Coach Frye said.
However, challenges lay ahead for the Colonels. These other competitors are catching up in their practices and there is the looming pressure of playoffs and a NCAA tournament bid. The seniors on the team are getting restless for a conference championship, something they have not won during their time at Centre.
“[My goals are a] solid championship, a NCAA playoff bid, and pursuing a National Championship. But it all starts with a conference championship,” Haden said.
“You have to think about one game at a time. I believe that when you start thinking down the road, you lose your focus,” Frye said.
This mentality is something ingrained in his team’s mind as they grind through the toughest part of their schedule.
When it comes to this team’s personality, they truly are unique. “Every year it is a different [team] personality,” Coach Frye said, ”It is a different set of players. I do know that after returning from Europe, this team has developed a strong bond. Plus, we have a lot of seniors that are playing, so I think our leadership is very good.”
A senior offensive lineman, Steven Fortner, agreed and added, “As a senior class, we just hope we have positively affected the younger guys on the team so they can keep the tradition of Centre College football going. We also hope that we have made a positive impact on the student body.”
The Colonels will return to action on Sat., Oct. 11 at home against Berry College. This will be the first Southern Athletic Association game for the Colonels.