NICK THOMPSON, TRUMPET SPORTS WRITER
The Wartburg football season will have to wait. The team was shut down due to COVID concerns and did not play their scheduled March 27 game.
An April 3 road game against the University of Dubuque has been postponed.
It has been almost a year and a half since the Knights’ last game.
“It’s been so long since we’ve had the opportunity to take the field against other opponents, and we cannot wait to get back out there and show what this team can do,” Cole Bollweg, third-year starting offensive linemen, said.
The team planned to be back in action April 1 with a junior varsity game at Central on April 12 and a varsity game at Loras on April 17.
Up until the COVID concern, the team was getting ready to play their only home game of the shortened and first-ever spring season.
The team ended the 2019 season as conference champions with a 10-2 record, losing Nov. 30, 2019, to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second round of the NCAA playoffs. It was the Knights’ 14th playoff appearance.
“Getting back into practice with real competition in sight has been really exciting since we haven’t played a game since the fall of 2019,” Jace Moore, fourth-year starting quarterback, said. “Practice in the fall was also really important for the team in order to get some of the younger guys up to speed, and it was super helpful to get everybody to the point we’re at now where we’re physically and mentally ready to play games and meet the standard we have set for ourselves.”
The shortened season brought a lot of challenges that a normal season would not have. The team is using the little time that they have to build chemistry and camaraderie to take into next year.
“We are super excited for this opportunity because it is a chance for some of the young guys to gain experience before heading into the full fall season where there’ll be the opportunity to win another conference championship and make a run in the playoffs,” Cole Bollweg, third-year offensive linemen, said.
“My teammates have made it really easy to keep everyone motivated. We have a really focused group and we all know how important games are even if there’s not a championship on the line. Everyone has done a great job of holding each other accountable and keeping the team focused,” Moore said.
Even though the season would have only had one home game during the shortened season, the team was ready to get after it and play on their home turf.
“I think it goes without saying that everyone would have liked more home games because of the great atmosphere at Walston-Hoover Stadium, but we were all happy that we were going to get to play at least one game in Waverly. Now we’re all pretty bummed that we had our first two games get postponed for the time being, but we’re hopeful that we can still play this spring regardless of whether the games are home or away,” Moore said.
The team and coaching staff are being optimistic.
“Stay positive, handle things properly and find a way to improve and have a good experience. This is a short-term setback, the long term is our focus,” Willis said.