The Prairie Fire men’s football team has made a significant effort this year so far. With an opening game against Eureka College, falling short 24-49 and then a very close match-up against Beloit College 20-23, the Fire have proven to show their commitment to the season. This past weekend, they fell to Ripon College 3-28, making their overall record 0-3. The players are still motivated and have goals for the season.
Senior Malik Hamilton says his short-term and long-term goals are the same. He hopes to have fun and “enjoy his last season as well as winning as many games as possible.”
Senior Jordan Anderson has a similar goal.
“Our main goal for this year is to continue to improve with each game that we play,” Anderson said. “Coach Tomeo talks about it each day that we have to be better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today. That is our main goal and we focus on that each day at practice and on Saturday games.”
Junior Kobe Shutter has long term goals of success for the team, but has a plan on how to get there.
“We want to have a positive turnover margin and have a winning record at the end of the season. Teams who make fewer mistakes and commit fewer turnovers win football games more often times than not,” Shutter said.
Shutter is also very impressed with the performance of the freshman and coaching staff.
“This first-year group is extremely talented and the bring a lot of energy every day at practice and during lifting. They motivate every one of us to be better every day,” Shutter said.
Anderson agrees the freshman have contributed a lot, and says they have the coaching staff to thank for bringing in such a talented recruiting class.
The team’s motto this year is “better today than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than we are today.” The team has been practicing discipline and staying positive and focused on being better overall. However, Hamilton believes they have to have that focus in mind and the wins will come.
The coaching staff has also contributed to the team’s success.
“The coaches came prepared to guide us in the right directions to win. The team as a whole has a ton of talented guys that help to contribute in many ways,” Hamilton said.
Shutter has a similar sentiment about the coaching staff.
“Being around the coaches nearly all day is great for us. They push us to be great on the field as well as in the classroom and that has had a tremendous impact on us,” Shutter said. “Every chance I get I am usually in the coaches’ offices either watching film or just hanging out and talking about anything. They care about us as people, not just football players.”
Each of the players is motivated by something. Whether it is who is beside them on the field or a larger reason to work hard, it varies. For Hamilton, it is the drive to see those around him succeed too.
“My motivation is to see the people around me successful. I like to see growth, and I am willing to give it my all if that means my teammates are getting better,” Hamilton said.
For Anderson, it is a different motivation.
“I think our main motivation is the support from our fans, coaches, and alumni. Not only that, but the opportunity to continue on the path to take Knox football to places that it hasn’t been before. That is what motivates us every time we step on the field,” Anderson said.
Shutter believes if the team puts all of the pieces together, they will have a successful season. He says he plays for the love of the game and the opportunity he has to play at this institution.
The Fire will take to the field at home on Sept. 29 versus St. Norbert College at noon.