With the SMSU Mustangs in town, the Mavericks look to put on a show tonight at home at the Blake.
The Maverick football team will be back on the gridiron for their first regular season game of the season vs. the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs tonight at 6:05pm at Blakeslee Stadium.
Last year, the Mavs beat the Mustangs 54-7. Spectators will get a first look at our Minnesota State Mavericks football team this year. Coming into the year, the football team is ranked #1 in the NSIC.
That isn’t surprising, considering the team finished 13-1 last season in the conference.
Looking at the bigger picture, the Mavericks find themselves in the top six in 3 preseason polls. Perhaps most important is the AFCA, or American Football College Association, poll. They’re rank #3, behind West Florida, and last year’s champions, Texas A-M Commerce.
Head Coach Todd Hoffner doesn’t let the polls, or more specifically, the past record defines his team, even when they are successful. He called this season a “fresh slate” of new opportunities and scenarios.
The rest of the coaching staff, including Hoffner, expect every player tonight to be on their “A” game, as expectations are high for this team, a theme that’s been constant for all Maverick sports.
“Anybody who steps on that field we believe that they can play at a high standard and we also expect them to play at a high level,” said Hoffner.
From the head coach to the defensive backs coach, Lavell Jackson is making his debut as the coach for the talented secondary this season. Hired in July, he is excited to get the first regular season underway. After spending a year at Bethany College, Jackson is now looking after the DB’s.
Jackson had this to say about his ability to focus on the littler things while being thankful for having the opportunity to coach for this team:
“Now I can focus on just my guys in the back half and really dive into more technical things… Coming to Minnesota State University is an honor and a privilege. Being a part of a program with such success and tradition such as this one, it’s really excited.”
Another person who cannot wait to get on the gridiron, is QB Ryan Schlichte. The starter is coming off a season where he threw for almost 2,000 yards and 25 TD’s with a completion rate of 52.9%.
As a leader, his message to the team was to give it their all and keep going, no matter how difficult the situation seems. His goal, was rather simple.
“Our goal is always to defend the Blake and go 1-0 in front of our unbelievable fans.”
I think the fans would agree with that one. As for students who are available tonight and still on the fence, Head Coach has some words of encouragement for them.
“We’d love to have you experience the Mavericks so please come out and support Minnesota State Maverick football.”
You heard him, and admission is free for all students, so all you need to do is bring you fun and enthusiasm to the game tonight! The bleachers fill up quick, so arrive early and get your cheers ready for the first game under the lights at the Blake!
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter.