Football season set to kick off

Blake Kresge

Football season is alive at Washburn, and it comes a day early.

Washburn opens its home schedule on a Friday this year against New Mexico Highlands University.

Part of the move from the typical Saturday gameday to Friday comes because of travel time for the Cowboys out of New Mexico.

Whatever the reason, head football coach Craig Schurig hopes to see crowds pile into Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl on Sept. 4 for the 6 p.m. showdown.

“We’re really hoping people stay around and come out,” Schurig said. “It’s a little bit unique. We really hope the students come outand support that game.”

The Ichabods are no stranger to success. In 2004, the team trekked to and were victoriousat the Mineral Water Bowl. The Ichabods won the MIAA in 2005 and made their way to the NCAA playoffs in 2005 and 2007.

Last year, the Ichabods went 6-5 and were able to take down heated rival Emporia State on homecoming and record their first shutout in 46 games on the road at Missouri Southern State.

Schurig believes last year will help putthis year’s team on the right track.

“We had some injuries, it allowed alot of people to play; we hope to reap thebenefits of that this year,” said Schurig.

Experience is the key word, as the Ichabods return a solid group of starters.

“We have a really good senior class, some of the best players we’ve had in our program since we’ve been here,” said Schurig.

“We’ve been working hard, I feel like the experience should pay off this year,” said senior linebacker Michael Wilhoite.

“Mentally we have to be able to put it together. If we can do that, it’ll be something special to see.”

The road back to the playoffs for those seniors starts with winning the conference.

“It’s very challenging and it’s verygood,” Schurig said. “If you win theconference, you get in the playoffs.”

Another key: “We want to get off to afast start,” Schurig said.

While he is referring to getting a fewearly wins under the belt, he will take oneof those wins a day earlier than usual,too.