Manchester football alma
Spartans are optimistic of the upcoming season as they prepare for games.
Photo provided by MU Athletics

Football Team Optimistic, Looks Ahead to Conference Season

Brett Wathen

We are now entering week four of the collegiate football season and the Manchester Spartans sit at 1-2. The Spartans opened the season with a solid win on the road over North Park (23-14) but fell to Alma College (49-7) over the weekend. The team was on the road again Saturday, Sept. 17, against Greenville. It was the last non-conference game of the year for the Spartans as they open HCAC play at home against Mt. Saint Joseph Oct. 1.

The team is very optimistic as they get ready to enter conference play in the coming weeks. The team was picked to finish sixth in the pre-season poll but players feel they can contend among the best in the conference. Preparation has been a big key this year, and the team is confident that they can make the necessary adjustments to surprise some teams. Junior Linebacker Jamaal Hubbard was named the HCAC defensive player of the week in week one after a 55- yard interception he returned for a touchdown, along with 15 tackles. Sophomores David Smith and Markell Jackson both had good games over the weekend, as Smith ran for 82 yards, and Jackson had an interception.

Sophomore quarterback Colin Turner has a positive outlook on the season thus far. He said that a big change this season from last year has been the attitude around the team. There has also been a collective leadership on the team that has led to better play throughout the entire lineup. He also cited Junior offensive lineman Wayne Vaughn as being a key to this year’s success by bringing a lot of intensity to the team.

Another player focusing on the positive is Austin Lemar, a junior tight end. Lemar is a returning football player this year, having not played since his freshman year. He said a strength of the team is how well everyone plays together. “It never feels like there are separate units between offense and defense,” he said. “Everybody just molds well together and plays well as a team.”

While the Spartans have seen two different outcomes so far, the season is young and there is plenty to be optimistic about as the team continues to prepare for the conference season. The team enters week four with a lot to build on after a good start to the season and hopes to bounce back during conference play.