Rebuilding season brings hope to program
The Malone football team experienced an exciting season, finishing with three more wins than in the previous year. Fred Thomas, new football head coach, opened the season with a win over Taylor University that gave the team a confidence that carried them through the season. Thomas was excited after the overtime win over Taylor because it was a great start to the season and brought energy and confidence into the locker room.
“Our players executed the game very well and played as a team together. With the wins this year it gave the team more belief in being successful. The losses hurt this year more than the last, but winning always makes the week smooth,” said Thomas.
The success emerged from several changes under Thomas’ direction, including the addition of a full-time strength coach from Ohio State. Improved strength made the team more competitive on both sides of the ball. Despite the increased success, Thomas said there is still plenty to improve. For example, Thomas believes the defensive line needs more depth and the team overall must work to find new ways to finish with a win and effectively execute the game plan.
For Tyler Bowman, senior defensive lineman, the wins were especially meaningful in his final season.
“I think this season has been a rebuilding year. This year we had a lot of young guys playing, which is good in the long run because they will be more experienced for the next year,” said Bowman.
New, young talent contributed to the changes that resulted in the team’s success.
“We have a lot of good players that come in and work every day, which is crucial in a winning program. This year we had to fight through some adversity but we look forward to being better for years to come.” said Bowman.
John Iacucci, sophomore quarterback, reflected on the team’s efforts this season.
“The season was good. I learned a lot as a person, and developed a ton as a player. The main reason that this season was different was because of the way that Coach Thomas and Coach Miller run their operations. I was able to feel comfortable and learn from the both of them, knowing that they always had my best interest in mind,” said Iacucci. “Their outlook on football and the way that they went about achieving their goals and developing the mental attitude of our team was tough, but necessary for change.”
With all of the new talent, the coaches worked hard achieve their goals for the team and players. Iaccuci set individual goals during the season in an effort to improve. As the season progressed some of these ambitions changed.
“Specific goals that we changed were that we won more games and that we improved in efficiency and cut the number of turnovers that we’ve had in half offensively, while defensively we allowed about 75 fewer points than we did last year,” said Iacucci.
The team is motivated to repeat this success in seasons to come.
Devin Koehler is a guest writer for The Aviso