Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 27, 2019

Football 1

Manchester Junior Varsity Football Looking to Get Back on Track

Ryan Daine


Following a rocky first-week start, MU’s junior varsity football squad hopes for more positive results in the upcoming games on the gridiron. As of Sept. 22, the JV squad’s overall record for the year fell to 0-2, as the Spartans were defeated by the Trine Thunder in an away game up north in Angola, Ind., losing 42-14.

Taking away some positives from the matchup, the JV team was able to string together two successful scoring drives resulting in touchdowns. In addition, several tackles for losses, broken-up pass plays in open field, and effective intermediate passing plays helped to provide some solid highlights for the young crew to evaluate and use as learning tools to improve upon as the season goes forward. The team intends to do just that, taking the positive aspects out of each game, whether it be a victory or loss, and learning lessons from both what went right and what went wrong.

Despite the rough beginning, many young Spartans on the junior squad are still eager to learn new 
concepts, and further develop their skills, hoping to produce more success as the season winds on. One such player, Payton Frye, was eager to discuss how the first week has been, and some of the future goals and plans that the team share as a collective. Frye, a first-year student, and the JV starting fullback and tight end, refuses to let the two early losses affect his mindset for the season. “It doesn’t define who we are,” he said. “As for the JV team, honestly, the scoreboard doesn’t reflect what we are all about, and the hard week we’ve put in as a team.” 

Being a first year student-athlete making the jump from high school level sports to the collegiate level is likely to bring unique challenges and struggles. Frye offered his insight into how it feels to be playing as a first-year, which he feels is similar to how most of his other young JV teammates feel as well. “As a first year, you’re definitely out of your comfort zone a bit,” he said. “It’s definitely a step up, and more intense than high school ball in every aspect. Even for those who only play special teams on JV, the expectations and pressure is just so much more heightened—you’re grown up now, and at a new level; you have to play like it, even if it’s only on JV. It’s an intensive learning curve.” 

Tyler Stone, another first-year JV player, wished to offer his perspective from both a personal, and team-wide view of how the beginnings of the season are shaping out. Stone, the JV squad’s starting defensive tackle, and left guard on PAT, shared Frye’s view concerning the increased pressure to be effective and play well.

“It’s all about small yet critical moments,” Stone said. “For instance, being on the front line, just blocking for PAT’s doesn’t sound like a very important role, but it is, most definitely. It is a very challenging spot to play, with a lot riding on my shoulders. If I miss my block, and make a critical error, that one missed point could mean the difference between coming home on a loud and energetic bus, or having a very somber and quiet ride back to campus.” 

Stone continued: “We may not seem like we play all that important of a role, especially only being on the JV team. But we’re all crucial as individuals, to the goal of winning games as a collective. It really is a team effort.”

He ended his comments on an optimistic note, voicing his readiness for a new week of practicing and improving his skills, hoping to get more meaningful playing time across the board for himself in the future.

The JV football team plays their next game on Sept. 30 when they take on Trine University again on the Spartans’ home turf.