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The Antelope

    Anticipation builds for 2019 football season

    Excitement, expectations circulate as spring football begins for Lopers


    Loper spring football kicked off this week and coach Josh Lynn had his 3-year anniversary taking over the reins of a struggling football team. For Lynn, this spring is all about finding cohesion as a football team and being able to execute. 

    “We need to be able to execute at a high level offensively and defensively,” Lynn said. “We have a strong senior class with good experience and now it is time for us to turn it up a notch.”

    The football team finished in the regular season with a 5-6 record. Four of those five losses were by 14 points or less. Although UNK has shown improvement from years past, the bitter taste remains in the mouths of players. 

    Starting quarterback Alex McGinnis, who last year rushed for 471 yards and threw for 1,364, talks about the heartache last season provided. 

    “It will always sting,”  McGinnis said. “Knowing that you were a few crucial plays away from being 10-1 never sits well, but it is also a motivator.” 

    McGinnis goes on to talk about his excitement this spring and the addition of Drew Thatcher, the new offensive coordinator for UNK. 

    “I am stoked for this spring and Coach Thatcher is going to be a great addition for us,” McGinnis said. “He knows this style of offense well and we have a solid offensive line and some high caliber skills position players.”

    The excitement does not only come from the offensive side of the ball though. The Lopers are excited about their defense and the potential it holds this year as well. After losing some key starters, defensive tackle Tye Spies and defensive backs Famous McKinnon and Malik Webb, starting linebacker Sal Silvio is still optimistic of the potential for UNK’s defense. 

    “Obviously, it hurts losing guys like Tye [Spies], Famous [McKinnon], and Malik [Webb],” Silvio said. “But we still return eight starters and have good depth surrounding everyone.” 

    Silvio, who last year finished with 107 tackles and was named First Team All-MIAA linebacker, says he thinks that this spring is crucial to the future success of Loper football. 

    “This spring will decide how good we want to be,” said Silvio. “We have a great group of guys right now and they will be the core people who take this team to the top. I cannot wait.” 

    UNK football has had three practices so far and will have 11 more before wrapping up spring football with their spring game on April 20. For the first time in a long time, the, “buzz” of Loper football is real and people are excited to see what this team has in store for them this fall.

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