Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Viking football setting goals high this season

Running back Brandon Price looks to get by a defender in Augustana’s first game last season against Mount St. Joseph.  Photo by Kyle Soyer.
Running back Brandon Price looks to get by a defender in Augustana’s first game last season against Mount St. Joseph. Photo by Kyle Soyer.

The Augustana Vikings football team finished up last season with a 5-5 record and was fourth place in CCIW Conference.
This year with more seasoned players starting and a new defensive coordinator, they hope for better things this year.
One key aspect is the team has a group of athletes who have been playing with one another for a couple years now, as well as an offensive line that has experience.
“I have never seen a closer bond between our position groups than what we have this year,” said Anthony Roome, a senior on the offensive line. “Even as a team, we have set higher goals for ourselves and are really focusing on achieving them.”
From a defensive look at things, they suffered a big loss with the graduation of All-American middle-linebacker Erik Westerberg.
Most teams would be concerned with how one would fill this void, but the new defensive coordinator Zachary Shay has helped make that void smaller.
“Coach Shay has simplified the defense a lot,” said senior captain and corner Ben Fornek. “This has allowed a lot of guys who are good athletes to get on the field and play well. The new system and attitude has changed the mentality of the defense in a good way.”
This mentality is coming from Shay’s demeanor and leadership on and off the field.
Head Coach Rob Cushman has been very pleased with what he has seen so far.
“Coach Shay preaches a tough aspect of football about playing hard and is physically and mentally demanding of the players,” said Cushman. “Through this leadership, he has created a sense of better focus amongst the defense.”
The Vikings are off to a good start this year, as their first scrimmage against St. Ambrose on Aug. 28 was a success.
Although they only played one half, the unofficial score was 7-3 with Augustana coming out on top.
The first part of the game was sloppy with neither offense moving the ball well. However, on the last play of the half, Augustana scored on a pass from junior quarterback Sam Frasco to senior wide receiver Kyle Frake.
On Sept. 6, the Vikings will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio where they will play Mount St. Joseph to open up their official season.
Last year, they beat the team 20-10. Mount St. Joseph is returning a lot of experienced players and are expected to be a formidable opponent, as will every team this season.
“Every team we play is looking to give us their best shot,” said Cushman. “They know the tradition and history of our program and take pride in giving us their best look every time they take the field.”
Some key players to watch are: junior quarterback Sam Frasco, sophomore running back Brandon Price, sophomore Jack Asquini, senior defensive back Ben Fornek, junior slot receiver Sean Fitzgerald, senior defensive back Bo Goshorn and senior running back Ben Hodges.

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Viking football setting goals high this season