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The Antelope

Loper football off to running start


UNK starts season 2-0 for the first time in seven years

Chris Langin
Antelope Staff

It’s been over four years since the UNK football team could say it had won back-to-back games. That all changed after an encounter with Central Oklahoma last week.

After a 45-0 blowout victory against Missouri Southern in Week 1, UNK traveled to Central Oklahoma to face a team that had won six of their last seven games dating back to last year. The Lopers left Edmond, Oklahoma, on top of the MIAA Standings after a 31-27 victory.

The only player remaining from that 2014 season? Starting center David Squiers, who was redshirting while playing for coach Darrell Morris, Squiers’ first of three head coaches during his time at UNK.

Squiers said he only vaguely remembers the back-to-back wins in 2014. Now a key contributor for the Lopers, he is somewhat of a poster boy for the present state of the football program.

“It’s definitely been a long and bumpy road to get to where we hopefully want to get to this year,” Squiers said. “But, that’s what makes this team so resilient. Most guys playing right now are guys that chose to fight through both coaches and players leaving.” Squiers said.

Josh Lamberson was hired in 2015 to turn around a Loper team that had gone 3-8 the previous season. After winning one contest in two seasons, Lamberson was hired as the offensive coordinator at Abilene Christian.

Lamberson installed a more modern offense that featured its fair share of passing plays. In January of 2017, that approach took a complete 360 with the hiring of Josh Lynn and his run-heavy option attack.

“I wasn’t thrilled about it at first,” said first year starting quarterback Alex McGinnis.

The junior was recruited by Lamberson out of high school and decided to stay put and adapt to the new offensive philosophy. “It grew on me the more I started playing in it… it took some time learning how Coach Lynn’s offense operated during that first year. There weren’t as many growing pains this year.”

McGinnis and the Loper offense have certainly turned it up a notch this year in Lynn’s second season. After throwing the ball 47 times against Central Oklahoma last season, the Lopers utilized eight incredibly efficient passes and 52 rushes to accumulate 450 yards of offense and 31 points against Central Oklahoma.

On the season, McGinnis has made the most of his 25 passes, completing 18 of them for 277 yards and two touchdowns, good for a quarterback rating of 191.5. On the ground, McGinnis has 32 carries for 152 yards. More importantly, he has made the necessary reads for breakout running backs Darius Webb and David Goodwin to combine for 399 yards on just 33 carries.

Defensively, the Lopers have given up an average of just 13.5 points per game. Sal Silvio has anchored the defense with 21 tackles and two forced fumbles through the first two weeks. Returning defensive end and captain Tye Spies also has eight tackles and two tackles for loss.

“Our defense has played well through the first two games,” Spies said. “We need to work to get rid of mistakes and penalties, but overall, I’m very happy with how we’ve played thus far.”

The Lopers will host Emporia State at 2 p.m., Saturday.


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