Despite Larger Roster, Yeomen Fall in First Game

Junior+quarterback+Lucas+Poggiali+drives+forward+with+the+ball.+The+Yeomen%0D%0Aare+currently+0%E2%80%931+and+will+take+on+the+Kenyon+College+Lords+this+Saturday.

Junior quarterback Lucas Poggiali drives forward with the ball. The Yeomen are currently 0–1 and will take on the Kenyon College Lords this Saturday.

Brianna Di Monda

Despite new Head Coach Jay Anderson’s efforts to improve the football team, the Yeomen fell 45–10 to the College at Brockport Golden Eagles on Sept. 6.

“He’s already done some great things. I know we’re only a game into the season, but he’s brought in a huge freshman class,” said junior captain and defensive back Gabe Edwards, referring to the 22 first-years who joined the Yeomen this fall. “The staff around him have a lot of good ideas that we’re really buying into as a team. He’s a great leader and a great guy.”

Anderson says he is committed to developing the football program and to helping the players grow on and off the field.

“Winning is important to everyone. The expectation for our football program is to win football games. We want to compete for [the] conference championships,” said Anderson. “We believe that success begets success. We want to make sure that we’re working and developing to be the best students possible in the classroom and the best football players possible on the field.”

The players are committed to establishing their team in the conference as well and are also hoping to garner a stronger following within the student body.

Edwards’s expectation is that the new Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex will help the team attract more fans to its games than it has in the past.

“This season, with Coach Anderson as the new head coach and the new facilities going in, is a big year for Yeomen football,” Edwards said. “I know that we’re trying to not just change the culture of the team within our conference, but change the culture around campus. We’re trying to integrate ourselves into campus and have a wider fan base.”

These changes to the football program are coming through in the team’s offseason performance, even if they haven’t yet shown up during games. However, the Yeomen are focusing on the bigger picture and keeping heads held high despite the loss.

“Coach said that their team was better than us, and I’d agree, but I don’t think they’re 35 points better than us,” said senior kicker Erikson Andrews. “I think we made some silly mistakes here and there, like giving up a big return or a big play. Things like that swing the game one way or the other.”

The Yeomen are looking to improve on this game and their playing on the field as the season progresses.

“We’re going to draw some positives out of that game. Brockport’s a good football team, and I think that our guys gave great effort, and we did some great things on the football field,” Anderson said. “There’s definitely some things we need to work on. We have to continue to get better as we prepare for Kenyon [College].”

Because of the high percentage of first-years on the team, there is a level of expectation that play will improve with more practice time.

“There are three or four freshmen at wide receiver that come in behind Justin Cruz, so that makes it a little more challenging because, you know, you make some mistakes just from lack of experience,” Andrews said. “It’s a young team, but there’s certainly a lot of talent.”

Anderson has high hopes for not only his football players, but also the athletic program at the school, and he expects future seasons to look better for the Yeomen.

“I share everyone’s enthusiasm in not only the football program, but every other sport in our department. Great things are destined to happen here at Oberlin College for athletics. Watching our players grow and develop and change the way that we’re viewed outside of Oberlin College excites me. Watching our players become winners excites me,” he said.

Despite the lopsided score, Edwards feels optimistic about the rest of the season.

“The score didn’t really tell the whole story,” he said. “There were some bright spots on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. We made a lot of mental mistakes that I think are going to be easily corrected. It’s a long season; we definitely can still turn it around.”

Andrews thinks Oberlin has a fighting chance against most of the teams in the conference this year.

“I think overall there’s a positive outlook among the team. I think everyone’s got the mindset that we can play with all the teams in the conference,” he said.

The Yeomen go on the road to play the Kenyon College Lords this Saturday and will return home for a homecoming tilt against The College of Wooster Fighting Scots on Sept. 20.