Triskaidekaphobia, a Greek word, meaning the fear of the number13, has struck Division II football coaches across the nation. Although triskaidekaphobia gets its root in Greek, there are no Spartans or Trojans involved here, but instead 13 Washburn Ichabods as the MIAA post season honors were released Wedensday, and 13 Bods received post season honors.
“It shows that everyone comes out and works hard all the time. We’re making each other better by going against each other. We have 13 guys honored this year and it shows what we’re doing here,” said sophomore quarterback Jordan Brill.
The Bods received six first team honors including senior wide receiver Mike Odupitan and senior offensive lineman Rudy Su’e, on the offensive side of the ball and on the defensive side of the ball included senior linebacker Grant Gould, junior defensive lineman Trey Lewis, and junior defensive back Fletcher Terrell. Terrell also received first team honors as a kick returner.
“That’s probably why we are MIAA champions. We had depth and quality performances through out. We feel like we were represented well, by the conference. We believe some of those second team guys deserved first team honors. But we can’t have it all. We have a nice mixture on offense and defense of guys that have performed really well,” said head coach Craig Schurig.
Other Bods that received honors included junior running back Trent Hearn, senior full back Rawshawn Bland, sophomore quarterback Jordan Brill, senior offensive lineman Jim Holland, sophomore offensive lineman Jeff Rickard, freshman defensive lineman Eric Lawrence, senior line backer Mike Gonzalez, and senior defensive back Calvin Stuckey. But perhaps the honor that stood out Wednesday was given to head coach Craig Schurig as he was named Wilson Coach of the Year in only his fourth year at Washburn.
“Coach has worked hard and brought in the players he wanted. He has everyone ready for the system he has in place, hopefully he has it built so we can keep going,” said Brill.
The program is certainly moving in the right direction, as they play in their first Division II playoff game in school history this Saturday against MIAA foe, the Bearcats of Northwest Missouri State.
“I’m an MIAA fan. I’ve been in this conference a long time and I root for MIAA teams to win every week. The perfect scenario for us will be to play Northwest here, and Pittsburgh state here,” said Schurig.
The perfect scenario’s step one was completed this weekend as the No. 21 Bearcats rolled over No. 20 Angelo State 45-14, and No. 23 Pittsburgh State proved they deserve to be in the playoffs after all, knocking off No. 24 Nebraska-Kearney 49-20, a week after the embarrassing loss to Central Missouri State 21-83.
“Right now we look at each game. We want to make sure we focus on one week at a time,” said Brill.
Focus will be on the Bearcats this week. In the last outing against the Bearcats, junior kicker Connor Sabel nailed a 23 yard field goal with 3.9 seconds to give the Bods a win 31-28. The Bearcats have gone 3-1 since, losing the Arrowhead Classic to Pittsburgh State 35-56 on October 29th.
“We want to prove to everyone that we weren’t a joke. We are definitely a program that has risen up, look at where we’re at right now. We have to continue to work hard and we have a lot of players returning next year, and hopefully it will carry over,” said Brill.
The Bearcat defense made a joke out of the Angelo State offense this past Saturday, as the Bearcats held Angelo State to just 14 points, 20 below their season average, and allowed Angelo State to only score once out of the four times they were in the red zone.
“I think they know that this is now a one game season. Practice this past week has been really relaxed. But when we come to work this week the intensity level and finality of everything, we will know this is a one game season now,” said Schurig.
The Bearcats defense though, lost their 2005 MIAA defensive player of the year, junior linebacker Lance Butler halfway through the second half due to a shoulder injury.
“It’s hard to get to this level. So we want to take full advantage of the opportunity. That’s are big message here. We feel like we’ve taken this program to a certain level, and we want to continue to let it grow,” said Schurig.