By AUDREY ASH – CENTO WRITER
With a philosophy like “Pursue Excellence with a Vengeance,” it’s not surprising that Centre Football has started off the 2013 season with three straight wins. Centre delivered the opening weekend of the semester with a strong win over Bethany College.
In the final minute of the game, the defense pulled through by intercepting an end-zone pass that had been tipped, preventing a potential touchdown that would have put the Bisons ahead. This is no shock, though, according to Coach Andy Frye, head coach of Centre’s football program. “Defense is definitely a strength,” Coach Frye said.
But defense isn’t the only part of Centre’s game with great potential.
Compared to last year, one of the team’s goals is to play with “jet tempo.” This means they plan on “snapping the ball quickly, leaving the other team in their base defense and eventually tiring them out,” senior quarterback Kyle Cook said.
So far, this new mode of playing has really paid off. In the second game of the season, Centre beat Rose-Hulman 27-17.
Helping with this updated style of offense are the first year players. “We’ve got potential… We’ve got a really talented freshman class. As far as skilled positions this is one of the best in a long time,” Frye said.
Alex Ward, a first-year kicker, along with Preston Cahill, junior placekicker, are the current prospects for replacing the Centre alumnus Jordan Gay, who graduated last spring and broke many Centre records with his kicking prowess.
“Alex Ward is coming along well, and he has definitely kicked off the season pretty good. It helps to have two returning kickers, Andrew O’Bannon and Preston Cahill, to kind of show Ward what to do and coach him along until he gets used to the system. So far, they’re doing an excellent job of that,” Jordan Gay said, confident about Centre’s season this year.
The first-years seem to be making a successful transition and even this early into the season the team considers themselves to be a “team made up of brothers,” first year wide receiver Max Mazza said.
As for the returning players, the only place even remotely inexperienced is the offensive line, where four out of the five positions graduated and the only remaining player of the line is injured.
Junior Heath Haden, returned this year as starting quarterback, and Harry Meisner, running back, completed the second game over Rose-Hulman with 106 yards and three touchdowns.
“The guys on the team are all pretty excited about the returning defensive line and wide receivers,” Cook said. Austin Jones, a senior wide-receiver, gave reason for excitement as he scored two touchdowns the first game of the season.
During Family Weekend the Colonels took on one of their biggest opponents, the Washington and Lee Generals, who Centre lost to in a crushing game last season.
The rivalry between the two college’s football teams is longstanding, “one of the longest in D3 football,” according to Coach Frye. Centre won the game with a score of 37 to 28. The team rallied after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter. Junior quarterback Heath Haden finished the game with a career high in passing yards (374) and completions (31). Senior receiver Austin Jones tied a school, single game record for receptions with 12.
The Colonels will look to continue their winning streak this Saturday, Sept. 28 in St. Louis, Mo. against Washington University, kick-off at 1 pm.
The outlook on the upcoming season is a promising one, centered on the team’s powerful motto. “Our goal is to win conference and to play for a national championship, but we aren’t going to sacrifice our philosophy for a win… [We] want our players to learn to do this in every part of their lives,” Frye said. “That’s why I coach; it’s the reason I’ve been coaching for so long.”