Friday, November 21, 2014

Braves play for each other

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 9/16/2013

There was no doubt in the minds of the Ottawa University coaching staff on how the Braves persevered through the upset of No. 2 ranked Missouri Valley.

“They have bought into playing together,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said following the 20-6 win Saturday at Peoples Bank Field over the Vikings. “Talent does not win you football games ... working together wins you football games. We did not finish last week. That was part of our mantra this week.

There was no doubt in the minds of the Ottawa University coaching staff on how the Braves persevered through the upset of No. 2 ranked Missouri Valley.

“They have bought into playing together,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said following the 20-6 win Saturday at Peoples Bank Field over the Vikings. “Talent does not win you football games ... working together wins you football games. We did not finish last week. That was part of our mantra this week.

“We had speaker come to talk about commitment, commitment to each other. Our team in this short period of time has been through a lot of stuff. We have had aunts pass away, brothers pass away. We have had two funerals a week the past three weeks.

“There has been a lot of emotional stuff that everybody had to overcome. They really came together. That is an amazing thing to see. That means more than anything to me.”

One thing for sure is Ottawa does have talented football players

“We have a good football team,” Ottawa defensive coordinator Josh Homolka said. “They were geared up to play. It was a great opportunity.”

Kessinger said the Braves made a lot of things go their way.

“We’ve done it in a lot of different ways,” he said. “We have good talent. It is going to take the whole team. It was a whole team victory.”

The defense was spectacular. The Vikings ran 99 plays and garnered 407 yards, but just six points.

“I have not had a defense play that well,” Homolka said. “We were backed up a few times. We have not had anything like that happen.”

Six times Ottawa held on fourth down. Homolka said Ottawa worked against power in practice.

“We did not see anything we practiced against,” he said. “We went back to some of the stuff we play against our offense. The game plan went out the window about halfway through the first quarter.”

Kessinger said the defense was out there making plays. Erik Brown had three interceptions. Deron Bruce had 12 tackles and three quarterback sacks.

Ottawa had just enough offense. Jon Hilliger caught a 46-yard touchdown pass. Dexter Hayes caught a 18-yard touchdown pass. Brown blocked a field goal and Morey Croson returned it 65 yards for a score.

“I don’t know if we will see as good of defense when it comes to their size and speed,” Kessinger said. “They brought a lot of stuff at us.”

Ottawa (1-1) plays 7 p.m. Saturday in Lindsborg against Bethany in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference opener.

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