Football gears up for spring game

The team is prepping for their annual spring game Saturday, April 27

Andrew Neururer
Staff Writer

The Minnesota State football has been working hard in preparation at spring practice to bring a championship to Mankato. 

Last season the Mavericks were successful, going 13-1. They didn’t have a loss during the regular season, but they did fall one win shy of reaching the national championship game after losing to Ferris State 25-42 at Blakeslee Stadium last December. Despite getting close, the Mavericks dominated practically every team they played last season.

On average, the football team won by 25 points. Their best game offensively was against Minot State on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 when they won 62-13. They also had one other statement game when they beat Wayne State two weeks later, 55-2.

The year before that, they went 13-1 and fell two games shy of the championship game. MSU has been close to bringing a championship back home, but they’ve continued to fall short the last few years.

MSU hasn’t won a championship in program history, but they will look to end that this season. 

The Mavericks have begun spring practice this last week but have had some difficulties with the weather recently. That has caused them to revise their practice schedule, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun and amped for another championship run.

Todd Hoffner, head coach of the football team had this to say about spring practice, “Well you know for me personally it’s a lot of fun, you know I’ve been doing college coaching for 30 years, so every year is a new adventure and a new journey. And its been great and I think the student athletes are definitely focused and excited to move forward and hopefully compete for a championship.”

There’s a strong chance they can find the same success as the previous two years, if not more. 

Some key returning players coming back this season are quarterback’s Ryan Schlichte and JD Ekowa, running backs Nate Gunn and Justin Taormina and wide receivers Shane Zylstra and Justin Arnold.

Having Schlichte, Gunn and Zylstra return on offense is a major key to how this team performs. Gunn had 22 touchdowns on 1,727 rushing yards last season and will look to build off that in his senior year.

Same goes for Zylstra, the big target wide receiver accounted for 1,261 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Having these three returns will be a determining factor to how well they are able to put up points. 

The Mavericks will continue to have spring practice until Thursday, April 25. MSU will then play their spring game Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium.

Photo from Reporter Archives.

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