Saturday, November 22, 2014

Braves itching to get back on field

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 10/25/2013

Today could not get here fast enough for the Ottawa University football team. The Braves are stinging from a 30-18 loss to Sterling last week.

The Braves can’t wait to get on the Peoples Bank Field turf and take out some frustration on Southwestern.

Today could not get here fast enough for the Ottawa University football team. The Braves are stinging from a 30-18 loss to Sterling last week.

The Braves can’t wait to get on the Peoples Bank Field turf and take out some frustration on Southwestern.

The two meet at 1:30 p.m. today in Ottawa’s homecoming game.

“Our kids are pretty resilient,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “We had our best Tuesday practice we’ve had. Pretty excited about the way they bounced back.”

There was a players-only meeting Monday to discuss things.

“We went over how we are going to pick it up,” senior receiver Jon Hilliger said. “It was more to remain calm. It was helpful.

“It got everyone on the same page. We have to remain focused and energetic. We have to come out from the start and hit teams in the mouth.”

Junior defensive back DeVontae Corbitt said the players understand what went wrong and fixed it this week.

“We are definitely ready for the next game,” he said. “We have a bad taste in our mouth. Tuesday was a great start to it, but we have to finish. I hate losing. I am a competitor.

“We still have a goal to reach. I am going to play for my team. What we can control is playing week in and week out. We have to take it game-by-game. We have to finish this thing out right.”

Kessinger said the Braves have things to prove after falling to No. 13 in the NAIA poll.

“I hope we have a little bit of fire in our belly to go out and prove we are one of the top teams in the nation,” Kessinger said. “We are fortunate to be where we are.

“Maybe we got a little complacent as a team. The players learned from that. We want to show people what kind of team we really are.

“We have not felt this feeling since Baker. I want you to soak up this feeling and remind yourself what it feels like.”

Kessinger does not expect Southwestern (4-3, 3-2) to lay down for the Braves (5-2, 4-1). The Moundbuilders are coming off big 86-36 victory over Bethel.

“They are a good football team,” Kessinger said. “They have the ability to score some points. Their linebackers are physical. They definitely will be a test.”

Ottawa needs to be more consistent in all areas of the game, but has yet to throw the ball the way Kessinger envisions.

“We have to throw the football to loosen them up,” Kessinger said. “That will get our running game back on track.

“We have to shore up some things defensively. We have to be solid in special teams.”

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