Football ends 2014 season with a loss to Wittenberg

Alex Holmes, Sports Editor

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The football team ended their season Saturday, Nov. 15 with a 52-21 loss to Wittenberg University. The Wittenberg loss left the team with a season record 1-9.

“We played a good first half, but had trouble stopping someone,” coach Mark Matlak said. “We were not able to slow anyone down defensively which doesn’t lead to positive results.”

Matlak said the team played well and worked hard.

“Wittenberg is ranked 11th nationally and we scored 21 points which is a drastic improvement from the 65-0 loss last year,” Matlak said.

Tyler McLaughlin, ’17, said Allegheny hung in with Wittenberg better this year and overall played well together even though a few things got out of the team’s grasp.

The Gators were unable to score in the first quarter against the Tigers, but worked to score three touchdowns in remaining three quarters. However, Wittenberg pushed ahead of Allegheny with six touchdowns.

Jon Nigro, ’17 said the most challenging part of the Wittenberg game was mentally preparing.

“They are a good team and came in 9-0,” Nigro said. “The whole week leading up to the game we focused on fundamentals and went back to why we fell in love with the game. It was more calm in practice and more fun.”

The team was looking to end the season on a good note, but knew the game would be a challenging one.

“It was our last game of the season and we had nothing to lose and we wanted to do it big for the seniors,” McLaughlin said.

The Gators were outscored by opponents 418-146 this season, with a total of 19 touchdowns. Though the team only won one game this season, they are looking at the positive side of the time spent on the field.

“Looking back to our win at Hiram, we came back from being down by three touchdowns to win the game,” Matlak said. “Seeing the joy on their faces and being better than last year was special for the guys.”

McLaughlin said no matter the record, if the team played their best and left the field not wanting to change what they did, the season was a success.

“If everyone performs to the best of their ability, and at times we did but it wasn’t consistent,” Nigro said.

The team has plans for improvement in the off-season to prepare for next fall.

“Our goal is to get bigger, stronger, and faster,” Matlak said. “We want to improve strength levels which has been a difficulty on the defensive end.”

Nigro said the team has a new lifting coach and they are prepared to follow his schedule and prepare for next season.

With the end of the season comes losing the senior class for the team

.

“Each class leaves a stamp on the program,” Matlak said. “We are loosing really good players but we won’t know the impact until next year. The seniors hung in there going through what they went through and created a positive environment.”

McLaughlin said the seniors are irreplaceable but the team has more talent coming in and has to utilize the talent they have.

“We had great seniors who have played a long time and we were a tight-knit group,” Nigro said. “We will miss their leadership and ability on the field.”