By: Samson Tamijani
If you wanted to see entertainment full of suspense and intense drama for cheaper than weekend movie tickets, you have no need to look further than Oskaloosa’s Lacey Community Stadium this fall. The Statesmen football team closed out their home schedule on November 5th with two solid victories in front of packed crowds. In what was a bitter 0-3 start for young squad, the Statesmen regrouped and turned into one of the NAIA’s hottest football teams. In gaining a plentiful amount of experience, the Statesmen have beat several ranked Heart of America Athletic Conference opponents in route to a seven-game winning streak.
The last two home games symbolized that with purposeful themes. October 22nd against Culver-Stockton College, was the annual Coaches versus Cancer game. Each player and coach wore a color of their choice to represent a cancer that has impacted their life, whether through a friend or family member. Colors included pink in memory of breast cancer victims; white for lung cancer; purple for pancreatic cancer; black for skin cancer; gold for childhood cancers and navy for colon cancer.
During the game, the Statesmen offense took control led by a superior rushing effort by senior quarterback, Van Parker, in route to a 44-21 victory over the Wildcats.
After a 19-14 win at Benedictine, the final home game against Graceland meant Senior Day. Prior to kickoff, ten football seniors were introduced to the home crowd in addition to the seniors of the band, cheer and dance squads. All of whom served an integral part of Statesmen athletics over the years.
In this game, the Statesmen had to bring in clutch play from all three phases of the team in order to storm an impressive comeback and beat their longtime rivals, the Graceland Yellow Jackets 27-24. The crowd came alive after several huge plays in the fourth quarter, which involved a standout effort from Parker, as well as defender Kyle Baldassarre to turn a 10-point loss into a 3-point win. The come from behind win was symbolic of the Statesmen’s season as well, in which they turned a rough 0-3 start into a championship run.