Tackling success

Senior wide receiver Joshua Howells (No. 27) leaps over a McKendree University defender to score a touchdown during the Homecoming game Nov. 12. Photo courtesy of Jim Smith.

By David Parker

After suffering a 0-11 season in 2010, the Tigers boosted their record to 5-6 this season, winning their final three games.

The team’s five wins began with a memorable overtime win against Coe College on Sept. 11 that snapped the team’s 18-game losing streak. The season culminated with the Homecoming game on Nov. 12, a competitive 17-14 win against McKendree University (Ill.).

“I think the program has made tremendous strides in a year, from performance on the field [to the classroom],” said Andy Ankeny, defensive coordinator.

Standout players included senior linebacker Nathan Schott, who was named the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League’s Defensive Player of the Week twice in a row, and freshman running back Michael Ho-Lewis, who scored four touchdowns in the game against Iowa Wesleyan College on Oct. 30

Ho-Lewis said the program’s success this year was a team effort.

“We’ve done really well with what we’ve been given,” Ho-Lewis said. “The first couple of weeks were rough, but it’s been pretty fun.”

Schott believed the team’s improvement was a result of a focus on new priorities.

“We are internally driven rather than externally,” he said. “We’re driven to play at our best level and be the player[s] and team we can be. That goal is always obtainable, unlike winning a certain number of games. That’s something Coach [Brian] Fish has instilled into us.”

Ultimately, Schott hopes the students of Olivet will have more respect for the team because of their accomplishments.

“In general, the perception of the team has not been positive. If people had seen how much we [have] improved, [maybe] they would respect us a little more,” Schott said.

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