Football Competitions Aimed at Win

Kenneth Grady, Reporter

Football players hope competitions last spring will convert into wins this season and in the future.

Players broke into eight different teams to according to a drafting process created by senior players.

Teams competed, one against the other. Each week, until every team had played. The one with the best record at the end of the semester won.

Senior captain Alfredo Santorelli believes the spring matches were more competitive because more players participated.

“Two springs ago, seven teams competed against each other every week, and we didn’t have nearly as many competitions so everyone was kind of like ‘eh’ about it,” said Santorelli.

Santorelli said the multiple teams “made it much more intense and got team- mates to really bring the best out of each other.”

“The matchups created this year made one-on-one competitions more interesting. It seems to be that when it is one versus the other, they tend to be more competitive, and we haven’t seen that before,” said Santorelli.

Defensive Lineman Jake Nagle said size, weight and speed are important in creating matchups.

“I like the matchups. They have kids the same size, the same skill set, speed, and strength competing against one another, which makes it fair.” said Nagle.

Another new thing about the competitions: football players not only played football.

“There are other sports involved. We compete in basketball, relay races and replication competitions,” said Santorelli.

Competing in different sports helps expand players’ skill sets, Santorelli said.

“Playing basketball, dodge ball, and even relay races is nice because we’re constantly thinking about football, but competing in other sports distracts us from football and it’s also helping us for it at the same time,” said sophomore Mike Diakunczak.

The new competitions have helped players become mentally stronger and less tempted to give up, said Diakunczak.

“These competitions help test our mental capabilities. The captains make them hard to tire us out, make us want to quit. They also get very precise on placement of weights, or bags to help emphasize the smaller things,” said Diakunczak.

The competitions also allowed players to develop muscle strength.

“I think how we handled competitions this year gives us an advantage over last year because it has given us the chance to get bigger, faster, stronger,” Santorelli said.

The Cougars are confident they will get some wins this season.

“I am truly excited, just being a player for this team, and where this team will be going this season in terms of finally reaching success. The competitions we did should turn into wins for us,” said Diakunczak.

The chances of winning wouldn’t be as high without them, Nagle said.

“These competitions helped us perfect ourselves, especially during spring ball, which will definitely help us during the season. If we just lifted and didn’t have these competitions, we wouldn’t be where are now,” said Nagle.

Diakunczak said training in ways that other competitors do not may be the ticket to victory.

“We’re doing things different here. Other teams are not competing like we are, they are not working like we are, they are not doing what we do, and that is why I believe our chances are better.”

Finishing games was a problem for the Cougars last year, Diakunczak said.

“The activities we did during the spring taught me how to finish through the competition, not to stop short. It made me more competitive and same goes for my teammates. This is a trait we didn’t have last year, and will be the difference for us this season,” said Diakunczak.

Santorelli said the training also provided a lesson in selflessness that will benefit players in other areas of their lives.

“In business it’s all about working together in groups to find the best way to either market a product or find out what the company needs to do in order to meet their projections for the year. So I think putting your team first instead of being selfish will help with that,” said Santorelli.

He said another lesson for players is the importance of consistently performing at their best.

“Our future career positions can be filled with someone else if what we do is not perfect. We must be focused on doing everything right every single time or that can cost us down the road. These competitions are the start to being perfect” Diakunczak said.

Nagle said achievement is all about discipline.

“Being perfect and disciplined in a sport will convert to off the field relations. It will help with relationships, job opportunity, and it builds character. Competing against my teammates this offseason has really showed me the bigger picture,” said Nagle.

Precision, accuracy and consistency are ways players demonstrate discipline on the field, said Diakunczak.

“Discipline is football’s most important life lesson. It goes back to being perfect but also with how you handle certain situations. Things may not always go your way, but if you stay disciplined and do what you’re supposed to do it will all pay off,” said Diakunczak.

The Cougars seem to be in a good position to win games this year, said Diakunczak, but senior Santorelli wants more than just wins.

“The goal I have for the team is to win the MAC conference. I truly believe our team can do this if we practice and play exactly how we did during the spring,” Santorelli said.