Football games are a great pastime among college students. This is no different at Gannon. Last year turned out to be one of the better seasons in recent history for Gannon’s football team. This season looks to be a step up from last year, especially in the players’ eyes. Wide receiver Jesstin Hamm is one of them.
Hamm, a senior communication arts major, said he has a good feeling about this season.
“We have 22 returning starters,” Hamm said. “We have a lot of chemistry, and we have one common goal and that’s to win the PSAC this year.”
The team finished last season with a record of 6-5, with 3-2 in both home and away matchups, and 0-1 in neutral-site games. Gannon also received a number of honors in the off-season, including highest team GPA in the PSAC, and ranked fifth in a preseason coach’s poll.
Some teams would consider these honors background information, choosing instead to focus on gameplay. Gannon coaches, however, use these honors as talking points.
“Coach Rzyczycki makes it known from day one that academics are just as important as football,” Hamm said. “So we take great pride in being the only PSAC football team that even achieved a 3.0.”
But some are using the 2013-14 season to downplay the Knights for the current year. This does not sit well with the players, and they’re out to prove them wrong.
“We feel as though we are coming in as an underdog after what we showed last year, but that’s how we want it,” Hamm said. “Our coaches train us to be hard-nosed and to always find a way in every situation, and becoming first at the end of the season is our priority.”
Another priority for the team is to keep things calm on the administrative side. Hamm did not mention any comments on the hiring of Lisa Goddard McGuirk as the new athletic director, aside from saying that he is excited to see what she has to offer in the position.
Looking over the schedule for this year, many of the teams on tap are ones that Gannon played last season. The Knights realize this fact and are prepared.
“Our schedule is tough as it always is, and we like that,” Hamm said. “We have a few teams that left a bad taste in our mouths that we plan on getting some sweet revenge on.”
In its season opener, Gannon defeated Southern Connecticut State University 23-7 at home. The team’s next game is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.