Avila to challenge Braves in all facets

By The Herald Staff

The Ottawa University football team has a tall order in front them in the Avila Eagles.

The Braves square off with the No. 20 Avila 1 p.m. Saturday in Kansas City. Avila (6-1, 4-1) is right on the heels of conference-leader Bethel (9-0, 6-0) and is in hopes of attaining an NAIA playoff berth. Avila has won six straight games since opening the season with a loss to Bethel.

Ottawa University freshman defensive back Grant Coleman (35) was all over the field in Ottawa’s 17-13 loss to Tabor. He finished with 14 tackles and one tackle for loss.

Ottawa is attempting to right the ship after last week’s 17-13 loss to Tabor. Ottawa was outplayed all over the field. Avila is coming off a 29-27 win over nationally-ranked Southwestern.

The Braves have not beaten Avila (0-2) since the Eagles joined the KCAC.

Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said Avila is a good team, but the Braves are more concerned about themselves after last week’s performance.

The coach was hoping for a competitive week of practice to elevate everybody’s level.

“The work you do during the week usually will reflect your playing time on the weekends,” he said. “If you go in with the proper attitude, you are going to make yourself better. In the end it will make us all better.”

The Ottawa defense will have its hands full with an explosive Avila offense. The Eagles are No. 2 in the nation in first downs per game (27), No. 6 in total offense (491 yards), and No. 10 in scoring (41).

The Ottawa defense surrenders 382 yards per game. Senior linebacker Colby Johnson ranks fifth in the NAIA, averaging 12.8 tackles. He had 16 tackles against Tabor.

The Ottawa offense, which was limited to 250 yards and a season-low 13 points, averages 29.5 points per game, while Avila defense surrenders 20 points per game.