Gator football shows promise

Despite slow start, team brings energy after halftime

Wide-receiver+Alex+Hutchin%2C+%E2%80%9918%2C++catches+a+pass+in+endzone+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+3%2C+2016+in+the+season+opener+game+against+Thiel+College+at+Robertson+Athletic+Complex.
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Gator football shows promise

Wide-receiver Alex Hutchin, ’18,  catches a pass in endzone on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 in the season opener game against Thiel College at Robertson Athletic Complex.

Wide-receiver Alex Hutchin, ’18, catches a pass in endzone on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 in the season opener game against Thiel College at Robertson Athletic Complex.

Brittany Adams

Wide-receiver Alex Hutchin, ’18, catches a pass in endzone on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 in the season opener game against Thiel College at Robertson Athletic Complex.

Brittany Adams

Brittany Adams

Wide-receiver Alex Hutchin, ’18, catches a pass in endzone on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 in the season opener game against Thiel College at Robertson Athletic Complex.

Alex Holmes, Sports Editor

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The Gator football team opened the 2016 season with a 44-21 loss to Thiel College on Saturday, Sept. 3.

“They did a lot of things well,” said Head Coach BJ Hammer. “Our kickoff returns were fantastic—Jake Wilson set a school record there. … Everything we did poorly was self-inflicted and it comes from not being consistent. Overall I was pleased with a lot of things but it wasn’t enough to get the win.”

Quarterback Logan Lee, ’19, said the team did a good job battling back from being down at the start of the game.

Taylor Davis, ’18, supports the Gators with the rest of the cheer team.

Brittany Adams

“You could definitely tell that spirits were down going into halftime, but we came back out into the second half with some energy and got some points on the board,” Lee said. “We tried to spark a comeback, and it showed a little bit of character throughout our team.”

In the second half, Lee completed 11 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight end and co-captain John McFarland, ’17, said eliminating turnovers and continuing progress are the biggest take-aways from the game.

“We were very confident coming into the game, although it was pretty discouraging to come out with a loss, but there was a lot of good that came out of it and a lot we can improve on,” McFarland said.

Throughout the season, the team is looking to improve consistency and working together on the field.

“We need to react better to adversity, and if something bad does happen, we need to be able to shake it off and move onto the next play without it affecting us long-term,” Lee said. “We also have 69 new kids on the team and a lot of them are stepping into big roles, so getting our family aspect down and becoming one unit is definitely a big challenge we need to face.”

McFarland said he is looking forward to the team working together.

“Right now there’s a lot of good things we’ve seen and just haven’t put everything together to come out on top yet, but it’s definitely there,” McFarland said.

Linebacker Matt Ledesma, ’20, defensive back Tristan Rhoades, ’19, and defensive back Craye Nehler, ’19, work to stop Thiel from scoring a touchdown during the second half.

Brittany Adams

Hammer said he is setting higher expectations for the team this year.

“It’s not a soft environment. They’re being critiqued and coached more,” Hammer said. “For the returners, it’s a change. I think they’re being coached more than they have been and the expectations are much higher for them.”

The team is looking forward to reaching their goals and bringing home wins.

“We’re definitely due for some wins and celebrations,” Lee said. “We’ve worked too hard throughout preseason and training camp to not win any games this year, so hopefully it’ll pay off for us.”

The team will travel to play The College of Wooster on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in Wooster, Ohio.

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