Jeff Schaefer, junior wide receiver, runs the in for a touchdown early in the first quarter Sept. 12 in the game against Sterling College. The Builders wouldn’t score again as Sterling went on to win 17-7. Schaefer led the Southwestern receivers with 77 yards on four catches. The Builders will take on Friends University at 7 p.m. Saturday in Wichita. Friends, who topped the preseason polls in both media and coaching, lost to McPherson College 60-38 during their first game Sept. 12.

Jeff Schaefer, junior wide receiver, runs the in for a touchdown early in the first quarter Sept. 12 in the game against Sterling College. The Builders wouldn’t score again as Sterling went on to win 17-7. Schaefer led the Southwestern receivers with 77 yards on four catches. The Builders will take on Friends University at 7 p.m. Saturday in Wichita. Friends, who topped the preseason polls in both media and coaching, lost to McPherson College 60-38 during their first game Sept. 12.

The Builders hit the road for the first time this season as they travel to play Friends University on Sept. 19. Both teams will be looking for their first win. The Falcons lost 60-38 in their season opener against McPherson College last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Tim Rozzell put up big numbers for the Falcons. He accounted for each of his team’s five touchdowns. He completed 21 of 39 passes for 308 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Rozzell also ran it in three times. Despite Rozzell’s offensive efforts, they lost. Six turnovers sealed the Falcons fate.

As the Moundbuilders prepare for Friends, they are hoping for a turnaround season. Last year was the fourth straight losing season. It was also one of the worst seasons Moundbuilder football has ever suffered through. The purple and white finished 1-9 overall, their lone win coming against Bethany College in the last game of the season. The team only averaged slightly more than 10 points a game, while giving up an average of more than 40. They also struggled with turnovers, throwing 25 interceptions, and produced the fewest offensive yards gained in the past five years.

It is a new season, though, and with a new season brings new hope. Ken Crandall, football head coach, is entering his third year at Southwestern. His staff has worked throughout the off season to make improvements to the program.

Crandall expects this year’s recruiting class to bring a fresh wave of talent to the squad. “I think we did a very nice job recruiting,” said Crandall. “We could see five or six new guys get a significant amount of playing time, and a lot of other guys who can also make an impact.”

Among the new recruits are five freshmen quarterbacks, Brady May, sports management, Christian Butler, undecided, Dylan Hackmann, athletic training, Aaron Kaub, business administration, and Jordan Barrett, sports management.

Barrett looked sharp in the Purple and White Scrimmage, which was played Saturday. Though there is much more to a team than just the quarterback, Barrett could be the missing piece to an offense that struggled immensely last year. “I’m really excited about getting a chance to play,” said Barrett. “I think we have a really good chance of improving from last year. From what I’ve seen, our offense has really improved and our defense is solid. I feel pretty good about our chances.”

Crandall expects this year’s recruiting class to bring a fresh wave of talent to the squad. “I think we did a very nice job recruiting,” said Crandall. “We could see five or six new guys get a significant amount of playing time, and a lot of other guys who can also make an impact.”

Among the new recruits are five freshmen quarterbacks, Brady May, sports management, Christian Butler, undecided, Dylan Hackmann, athletic training, Aaron Kaub, business administration, and Jordan Barrett, sports management.

Barrett looked sharp in the Purple and White Scrimmage, which was played Saturday. Though there is much more to a team than just the quarterback, Barrett could be the missing piece to an offense that struggled immensely last year. “I’m really excited about getting a chance to play,” said Barrett. “I think we have a really good chance of improving from last year. From what I’ve seen, our offense has really improved and our defense is solid. I feel pretty good about our chances.”

There are also many returning players looking to get back in the saddle. Michael Coppock, junior running back, returns after suffering an injury early last year that kept him sidelined for the season. Jeff Schaefer, junior wide reciever, led the Moundbuilders in receiving last year, hauling in 39 catches for 408 yards and four touchdowns. Sack leader Blake Ridgway, senior defensive lineman, returns after racking up 7.5 sacks last season. Macklin Nusz, senior defensive back, finished the season with 31 total tackles and one interception.

“We did all we could do in the off season,” said Nusz. “We really busted our butts out there. I think our chances this season really relies a lot on our first game. If we can come out and get a strong win, I think it will carry over throughout the entire season.”

The Builders opened up their season at home against the Sterling Warriors on Sept. 12. They got off to an electrifying start as Barrett connected with Schaefer for a 37-yard gain on the game’s opening drive. That led to a 17-yard Barrett-Schaefer hook up for a touchdown to give the Builders the early lead.

The Warriors answered with a 12-play, 64-yard drive ending on a 2-yard touchdown run by Joey Garcia , junior quarterback, to make it 7 all.

The Builders continued to find success moving the ball, but couldn’t capitalize as their second drive ended in a missed field goal by Austin Ledy, sophomore kicker.

The Warriors took a 10-7 lead on a 33 yard field goal by Doug Dunn, freshman kicker, with 10:11 left in the second quarter. Both teams struggled offensively for the rest of the half and went into the locker rooms with the score still at 10-7.

Sterling extended their lead in the third quarter, going 87 yards on 14 plays and scoring on a 10 yard pass from Keoki Burbank, junior quarterback, to Clay McEachern, junior wide reciever. The touchdown gave the Warriors a 17-7 advantage going into the final quarter.

On the ensuing drive, the Builders once again moved the ball down the field only to have Ledy’s second field goal attempt miss wide right. The purple and white struggled to get back in the game as their final two drives ended in Barrett interceptions. Despite their performance, costly mistakes and missed opportunities plagued the Builders as the fell to the Warriors 17-7.

Barrett made some big throws, but on paper his numbers are not as impressive. He completed just 12 out of 27 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. What hurt him was three interceptions thrown at critical points in the game. Coppock led the Builders on the ground, carrying the ball 14 times for 65 yards. Schaefer looked impressive as well, catching 4 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Clint Dick is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.