WU student returns to football with 2-0 Koyotes

Eric Smith

Many students at Washburn live double lives, going to school and working. For senior Bryce Loyd, his schedule also includes playing for the Kansas Koyotes indoor football team.

It all began for Loyd back in February when head coach Jim Greene, who also happens to be Loyd’s lifetime wellness professor at Washburn, asked Loyd to try out.

Although Loyd missed tryouts because of sickness, Greene’s recommendation led the business major to go to conditioning practices with the team beginning in early February. From there, Loyd’s participation has continued and today he is one of 35 members of the team.

Loyd, who never played college football, last played for Hiawatha High School in 2003. The Koyotes were another chance at football.

“I joined because I had the opportunity and he asked me, and I wish I would have played in college,” said Loyd, who will graduate May 16 with a BBA, emphasis in management. “I turned down a scholarship at Highland Community College. And I’ve always regretted the decision to not take that scholarship. And I saw this as an opportunity that I would probably never get again.”

While Loyd, who plays wide receiver, has not suited up in the two games for the Koyotes this season, he said he believes he is fifth on the depth chart of about seven wide receivers, with the top four getting playing time.

“I didn’t expect to just walk through the door and suit up after not playing football since high school, and arena football being a totally different game,” said Loyd. “It’s a learning experience but at the same time I’m eager to play.”

With at least eight games left in the season, Loyd is optimistic that he will get to play this year and he has every intention of sticking with the team until the end.

“With me not playing, I could easily just quit, but I see it as fun, meeting new people, being around coaches that have coached at all levels and played at all levels,” said Loyd.

While playing football for the Koyotes is fun for Loyd, he said there are some points that have made it tough.

“It’s just hard to go from outdoor 11-man to indoor eight-man,” he said. “It’s a transition, especially not playing football for a while. And it’s pretty rough. Probably some of the hardest hits I’ve seen in football happened last Saturday.”

The Koyotes have won their league, the American Professional Football League, the last six years and are on pace for another winning season with a 2-0 record already this year.

“It’s easy for me to be supportive of the team from the sidelines with the amount of talent and success the team has had,” said Loyd.

Rodney Nieman, a friend of Loyd’s and fellow Washburn student, attended the Koyotes’ game on Saturday to support Loyd and the local team.

“It’s great that he’s gotten the opportunity to play on the team,” said Nieman. “It’s pretty impressive that he made the team, not having played since high school and still going to school.”

The Koyotes defeated the Lincoln Tornadoes 81-0 at Landon Arena, scoring on every offensive possession. And while the team has only lost one game at home in six years, Loyd said the team continues to be successful because of the veteran leadership on the team.

“The experience helps a lot. We have people that have played the game and have been with the team since the beginning,” said Loyd. “And we have good coaches.”

The Koyotes will be back in action Saturday when they hit the road to play the Iowa Blackhawks in Council Bluffs, Iowa.