Seasons Greetings

Chaparral Football is back and ready to bring it

Lucas Koprowski, Sports Editor

With strong sophomore leadership and experience, the Chaparral Football team looks to take their game to the next level this year. The team has higher expectations of themselves more than ever, with many claiming aspiration of reaching the national championship.

Head Coach Matt Foster has been the Coach of the Chaparral Football team since 2013 and has been with them through some of the toughest years the team has ever seen. Although they were successful last year with taking down some big names, like the JV teams of University of Wisconsin Whitewater and Oshkosh, they were outmatched when put up against some of the toughest teams in the NJCAA; such as Iowa Western, Georgia Military and Trinity Valley.

While faced with the same relentless teams from last year, Foster understands the competition and see’s that COD will have a far greater chance for victory this season. “The last two years we’ve been 7-4. We’ve been to two bowl games. We’ve been ranked in the top 20 in the country. I think that’s very good, and I’d like to get us to the next level, the top 10,” said Foster.

While a majority of the sophomore leadership on the team believes that the team’s biggest competition are Iowa Western and Georgia Military, Foster sees it in a different light. When looking at the competition, Foster treats their competitors with with no bias. “Every team we play is good. I don’t rate one above the other. I think if you do that, then you’re not going to be as good as you can be,” said Coach Foster. “It’s a great rule in life, because you want to treat everybody the same. So we try to treat everybody the same, no better no worse. It doesn’t matter what team it is, we give them respect and do the best we can.”

When talking to some of the players about the upcoming season, many of them expressed that they personally seek to become the best player; not only on the team, but in the nation. Whether it is the offensive or defensive line, many players on the team seek to be the best version of themselves on the field.

Wide Receiver Crissean Williams-Caver is no exception to this, looking at both himself and the team to reach higher goals. “Personally, I’m going for 1500 yards and 10 touchdowns. For the team, I want us to go to the National Championship,” said Williams-Caver. Last year, he ended his season at COD with 509 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.

Entering this year with Division I experience, Quarterback Devin O’Hara also looks to bring the team and himself to the top of the NJCAA. “I want to be the best Junior College Quarterback in the nation,” said O’Hara. While he struggled at Western Illinois University, his high school stats demonstrate that he is a very capable player. His experience and his persistence to become a better player shows promise for the future.

Not only did the team face hard-hitting losses last season, in May of this year the Defensive Line Coach Kyle Kirchhoff died due to an accidental fall during a Chevelle concert at the Aragon Ballroom in Northside Chicago. Although shocking and tragic, the team looks to find inspiration in the young coach’s life and his remarkable ethics.

“He was a special teams coach for me specifically, and whenever you lose somebody part of the family it’s tough,” said Receiver Kelly Weese. “At the beginning of the season, the coaches of the team talked about dedicating this season to somebody, and I definitely know that a bunch of these players are playing for him.”

“It definitely is an inspiration to keep him in the back of your head just pushing you forward when you face adversity,” said O’Hara when talking about Kirchhoff.  “We’re still blessed to still be living this life, and it has definitely touched my heart. We miss him. He was a great guy.”

Although the loss has been hard on the team all summer, their strength to overcome such adversity shines brightly at the starting gates of this season; and will hopefully guide them to victory throughout their oncoming battles this fall. The Chaparral Football team has high expectations, but also the motivation and strength to meet and surpass the goals they have set.