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The Antelope

The Antelope

Senior linebacker steps into role in a big way after injury

Jimmy Harrison has recorded 4.5 tackles for loss this year. Photo provided by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

UNK football is on the rise. Inside linebacker Zach Schlager suffered a pre-season injury which left the team looking for a position to be filled. Jimmy Harrison, a senior transfer from New Mexico Military Institute, stepped into the position for the Lopers.  

“Being here has been great, we have great coaches,” Harrison said. “Just being able to ball with new people and even people from my last school is cool. Not much has changed, everybody is still on their grind. Being able to step up and I’m just glad that my teammates are able to trust me.”  

Harrison is on top for defense, as he leads the Lopers with 10 solo tackles and 18 assisted tackles. He has led the team in tackles for two out of the four games he has competed in this season.

“I have made some pretty big changes,” Harrison said. “My coverage is one. Here I play a lot more coverage than I did at my previous school. It’s been a challenge but it’s fun.”

The Lopers took on Central Missouri last Saturday at home and finished with a winning score of 38-6. Harrison had three solo tackles and three assisted tackles during the game against the Mules. 

“Jimmy’s preparation and work ethic is really good,” said UNK coach Josh Lynn. “I will say this, nobody works harder than Jimmy. He was kind of in a two-role and the great thing about it is, we haven’t dropped off much. He has done a great job and he has put himself in as being one of our better players on defense. I think it’s all about the opportunity. Jimmy has done a nice job of stepping up and filling that role.” 

Harrison has made some big changes including moving to Kearney and taking on his position on the field for the Lopers. He is accustomed to the culture here at UNK.

“There is the same culture here,” Harrison said. “Since it is a four-year school, everybody played up. Me not being here since I was a freshman, I feel like they have taken me in like the seniors have taken me in as part of their own.” 

UNK takes on Fort Hays State on Saturday. The Lopers suffered a loss to the Tigers last season but this time they are hopeful for a win.

 “We kind of had a really good first half and a not so good second half,” Lynn said. “You look at this game, we choked a bit and they got us in the second half. You look at the outcome last season, this was a big part of it. If we can seek out a win against these guys, we could become conference champions so this is the big step and we have to just concentrate on this week.” 

Harrison said playing for UNK has been a positive experience. He has adapted well to the competitive level of the MIAA.

“I would say that in the MIAA, all the schools are good,” Harrison said. We just got to go in every week with that same preparation because every team is pretty much the same team, talent wise. I would say it has been equal with every team we face. I love it here, I love playing for Coach Lynn. It’s another opportunity to play football and that’s what we love, that’s what we do.”

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