Strong defense leads CWU into the 2017 football season

Bo+Banner%2C+Kyler+Gracey%2C+Drew+Wallen+and+Will+Ortner+run+onto+the+field+against+Dixie+State.
Bo Banner, Kyler Gracey, Drew Wallen and Will Ortner run onto the field against Dixie State.

Bo Banner, Kyler Gracey, Drew Wallen and Will Ortner run onto the field against Dixie State.

Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert

Bo Banner, Kyler Gracey, Drew Wallen and Will Ortner run onto the field against Dixie State.

Sabrina Wheelhouse, Staff Reporter

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It’s almost that time of the year again where fall sports are getting back into the swing of things.

CWU football begins reporting for preseason practices Aug. 6. They will spend the first two weeks back practicing every day while having weights, meetings, and film as a team and by positions.

“We just need to take it day by day and listen to our coaches, taking full advantage of every situation possible and understanding how grateful we are to be in this position so next season will be huge,” said James Moore, junior offensive lineman.

The Wildcats have 11 games scheduled for the 2017 season including the opener at Kingsville, Texas against Texas A&M Kingsville. Non-conference games include playing at Dixie State (Sept. 23) and hosting North Alabama (Oct. 21).

Scott Power has a good feeling going into next season and expects the returners to continue getting the job done, while the incoming freshman class has potential to contribute in big ways.

“We have high expectations going into next season, this group of athletes have been around awhile and play a lot of football so coming off a 7-3 season we all have to expect to compete for a GNAC championship and a berth in playoffs,” Power said.

Power has had several athletes earn accolades last season and looks to keep his defensive line strong. Senior defensive lineman  Bo Banner and senior offensive linemen James Moore are anticipated to help lead the Wildcats to a successful season. They both know the course of the program and have been leaders on and off the field.

Banner has been a contributor to the team since his redshirt freshman year. He has seen action in all of the games during the 2016 season and has been consistent at his duties every season.

“Last year, [Banner] shared time with two other defensive ends who graduate this year so he will be the only returner in his position but he plays at an all-conference level and we like to see him to build upon that and continue to be accountable every week so we have high expectations for him,” Power said.

Moore is also another player who has been a force on the offensive side of the ball and has also seen action in all of the 2016 games.

“My expectations for next season are to win a conference championship while playing at a high level and to just enjoy the work ethic of my team,” Moore said. “I don’t expect anything less and I feel like the pieces of what we’re doing and how we are working is going to be huge, we just have a really good chance.”

The Wildcats have high hopes for a championship season with returning players who are eager to get back on the field and start training with the incoming class. They know what they need to do in order to prepare for every game and have been grinding every day in the weight room and on the field during winter and spring practices.

“Last season showed me that there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be number one with all the work we put in and that you can’t listen to the hype that coaches and players give off because you can play to your level but this conference allows you to play beyond that,” Banner said.

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Strong defense leads CWU into the 2017 football season