Wildcats face Northern Alabama


Jack Lambert

Junior Dillon Sugg runs ahead of teammates and opponents during a home game on Oct. 7 vs. Humboldt State University.

Jack Belcher, Staff Reporter

Jack Lambert
Junior Dillon Sugg runs ahead of teammates and opponents during a home game on Oct. 7 vs. Humboldt State University.

CWU football is still undefeated with a record of 7-0 after defeating Western Oregon University 42-0.  They are leading the GNAC, and are ranked ninth  in the nation. On Oct. 21 at 1 p.m., the team will face off in a home game against the University of Northern Alabama (UNA).

UNA currently has a record of 2-3 and is ranked sixth in the Gulf South Conference (GSC). This won’t be the first out of conference team that CWU has played this season. They have played against Dixie State University and Texas A&M Kingsville, but this will be the first time they will play a team in the GSC this season.

It will also be the first time that CWU has played any team from the GSC since Ian Shoemaker became head coach in January of 2014.

The team  just wants to take it one game at a time. They haven’t looked at any film of UNA in the week leading up to the game, but as soon as soon as they finish a game, they start preparing for the next one.

“We try to be 1-0 each week, and that starts with breaking down film and breaking down the new opponent,” Shoemaker said.

The sole focus of the team each week is to play the game on Saturday, and not worry about the next game until it comes. This time last year, the Wildcats had a record of 4-2 and lost the first game of the season.

“It’s a little bit better this year as far as our start. We won our first game which was key… it’s a totally different team,” Shoemaker said. “I am excited about this group. I think we got some great leadership and another season under all of our coaches is a positive thing for us, efficiency wise.”

CWU’s defense has held opposing teams to an average of 19.3 points per game, and a total of 116 points for the season, with 64 rushing yards per game. This is in contrast to CWU’s average of 42.7 points per game and 259 rushing yards.

“We are playing great defense against the run and I think we are committed to running the ball on the offensive side,” Shoemaker said. The key to playing the game is “being able to control the ball and forcing teams into a one dimensional passing game.”

Kicker Gavin Todd is a freshman on the team this year and has currently scored 52 points for CWU. When he first arrived at CWU he was a little intimidated, but now he has learned to rely on his teammates and they play well together.

“We are playing like a real brotherhood,” Todd said. “It was a little intimidating when I first got here because I didn’t know anybody, but after fall camp and we played games, it’s really great to just learn everyone’s name and really started to feel accepted as part of the group,” Todd said.  

Like any other coach, Shoemaker always believes that the team can get better. Even with a 7-0 record, the team still has things that they need to work on.

“We always have things that we want to improve on,” Shoemaker said. “We have had a couple of turnovers that cost us points, special teams so we are not giving up big plays. There are a lot of things.”

Shoemaker said the team is looking for “that perfect game” or as close to that as they can get.