Singer Darius Rucker once said, “There’s two times of year for me: Football season and waiting for football season.”
Luckily for Rucker, and countless other sports fanatics, it’s football season once again. The Olivet College football team begins its 2022 schedule this Saturday, with a home game against Franklin College.
Senior defensive back Isaiah Moon says he’s looking forward to competing alongside his teammates this fall. “I’m most excited to play with my guys this season. The team camaraderie is high…we just mesh well together. So, I can’t wait to go out there and ball with them,” Moon said.
Olivet’s head coach Dan Musielewicz said he and his staff are excited about how seasoned the team is.
“We have 29 seniors on this team, and all have a lot of experience,” Musielewicz said. Musielewicz added that team chemistry is an essential element of the team’s identity. “They are a close group of guys that really care about each other and compete to raise the standard of their performance in everything they do,” Musielewicz said.
Both Moon and fellow senior defensive back Anthony Merriman agree that the team’s biggest goal this season is to win a conference title. “It’s our motivation,” Merriman said.
The Comets plan to focus on several aspects of the game to reach that goal of winning the MIAA championship. Merriman said that defensively, there are a few keys.
“We honestly want to give up the least amount of points this season and also lead the conference in turnovers,” Merriman said.
Merriman and Moon, along with seniors Tyreese Mays and John Thompson, are expected to play big roles in the defensive backfield. Seniors Dennis Simmons, David Curl, and Ricky Williamson will return to the defensive line, while senior Logan Fee is returning at linebacker.
On the other side of the ball, sophomore quarterback Evan Ormsby is confident in the Comet’s scoring capabilities. “Offensively we have all of the tools to be great. To make sure that we are successful we just need to focus on our personal jobs. No need to be a superstar, just doing our job right,” Ormsby said.
Senior running back Nuke Crowell and senior tight end Daquarius Johnson are veteran players expected to help Ormsby and the offense score.
The Comets will also be returning a solid wide receiving core, including graduate student Nick Pagano, seniors Jalen Broussard and Jacari Hamilton, and junior Deonte Higgins.
Senior linemen Andrew Sikkema, Andrew Elenga, and Chris Beck are notable offensive athletes as well.
The Comets were 3-3 in conference play last year, with losses to Trine University, Hope College, and Albion College. However, Moon says the team is unfazed.
“We already have the confidence that when we’re locked in, nobody in the conference can mess with us. So, keeping that grit about us is going to make it tough on teams,” Moon said.
Coach Musielewicz said that while the Comets “do not overlook any opponent,” they are especially anticipating the Nov. 5 matchup at Albion College. “Albion is traditionally our biggest rival and that one is always on our mind. However, we focus on our performance each day, and each week,” Musielewicz said.
Olivet’s nonconference opponents include Franklin College, Eureka College, Hanover College, and Greenville University.
Tickets to Olivet athletic events can be purchased at https://www.olivetcomets.com/tickets/index for $7 each.
Photos by Abbey Peters.