Evan Sale, Campus Carrier sports editor
Avery Boulware, Campus Carrier editor-in-chief
|CAMPUS CARRIER ARCHIVE PHOTO|
|Viking football prepares for the 2017 season with the largest recruitment class in the team’s history.|
Fall sports at Berry are kicking off, with many teams preparing for their first games of the season. Viking football has been busy practicing and has many leadership positions on the team this year. Several recent Berry graduates and medical redshirts participating on the squad, and all of these men are all at least one year older than the rest of the players. Two of the current players are fifth-year seniors who are lending their leadership to the team. In addition, three recent graduates will help on the coaching staff. The presence of these mentors will be a driving force for the Vikings,
In Division III, it is rare for there to be any fifth-year seniors on the team, but the Vikings will have two. Trey Ciresi and Josh Bullock were medical redshirts due to injuries sustained their first few years at Berry, but they are now healthy and ready to lead the Vikings.
Trey and Josh are eager to begin the season after having to sitting out due to injury.
After being a part of the team for five seasons, they know what to expect from the program. The duo has played for the Vikings longer than anyone on the team, and they know their roles and the standard that they are held to.
“Our minds out on the field are there in order to play, not to think,” Bullock said when asked about how it feels to be older than most of the players he is competing against. “I go out and do my job and that’s all I’m worried about out there.”
Trey said he is excited to act as a leader on the team. His goal is to “get better and live up to the expectations that the team and my coaches expect me to live up to”.
Other men stepping into leadership positions on the team are recent graduates who have returned to help coach. Kreg Keifer, Jack Morgan and Jesse Williams have all returned to help coach the team they used to play for.
Senior safety Jackson Putnam said that even though these men are around the same age as him, the team rgives them the respect that they deserve.
“Playing with and for these guys is nothing out of the ordinary,” Putnam said. “They are all part of the family. The whole team, including the coaches, is a unit. Everyone works as a unit regardless of skill, position or age. The coaches are trained to be coaches, and the players are trained to be players.”
Junior linebacker Joey Connors appreciates having peer mentors on the team.
“The coaches are around the same age as us,” Connors said. “We can relate with them because first they have learned how to play football from our coaches, and now they are learning how to coach football from our coaches.”
The Vikings are hoping to pick up where the success they saw last year in their first game of the season on Sept. 2 in Maryville, Tenn. against the Maryville College Scots.