by Garrett Suchanek
The Concordia Bulldogs football team kicked off its 2015 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 5 with a 31-10 road win over Southwestern College.
It marks the third straight year that the Bulldogs have started their season with a win under coach Vance Winter.
After defeating Southwestern College, the Bulldogs hosted Hastings College on Sept. 12.
Concordia had a slow start to the game offensively, but the defense continued to play well.
The Bulldogs scored twice late in the third quarter on a pair of sophomore quarterback TJ Austin’s touchdown passes to open the game up 21-3. Concordia tacked on another touchdown in the fourth quarter and defeated the Broncos 28-3.
After starting the year 2-0 overall and 1-0 in GPAC, the Bulldogs are looking to improve on last year’s record as the team finished 5-6, with five of those losses coming by less than seven points.
With a new year comes new recruits and the loss of veterans. Even with the loss of veteran players such as Senior quarterback Garrett Folchert looks to contribute this year with Thomas graduating.
“What I personally look to accomplish this year is the same as our team goals and to be a leader throughout the year,” Folchert said.
The team’s goal is to reach postseason play.
“The team goals for the season are to be 1-0 every week,” Folchert said. “If we do that, we as a team will reach our goals.”
As for the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs showed in game one a glimpse of what they are capable of doing.
Concordia’s defense shut down the Southwestern offense after the Moundbuilders jumped out to a 10-0 lead following a pair of turnovers by the Bulldogs’ special teams and offense.
The Bulldogs forced four fumbles and recovered two. Concordia also allowed only 78 total yards.
The Bulldog defense is led by a slew of talented players. Cornerbacks Tarence Roby and D’Mauria Martin, both sophomores, head the secondary.
Concordia also return experienced linebackers junior Michael Hedlund and senior Tait Sibbel. Hedlund tied for a team high in interceptions last year with five. Sibbel had three interceptions and one scoop and score.
The Bulldog defensive line features juniors Trey Barnes and Ronald Jackson and senior Michael Gill.
As for special teams, Concordia has two experienced senior kickers coming back for kicking and punting. Adam Meirose will kick and Sandy Fisher will punt.
Concordia will be tested in the upcoming part of its schedule. The Bulldogs face three of the next four games on the road before hosting three of the last four games of the regular season.