By: Rory Gresham
The Stangs football team finally living up to the hype this season. After a disastrous 0-5 start, the Mustangs turned up the heat and tore off a five-game winning streak, and were invited to the Centennial MAC Bowl Series for the seventh straight season. “The season started off pretty shaky and pretty rocky,” said senior tight end Manny Bruce. “We had a lot of guys who couldn’t play this year whether it was paperwork or injury. So it started off slow but once we got some guy’s back everything turned around.”
Bruce said that there was a terrible vibe in the locker room during the long losing streak. “Before the turnaround, I felt like everyone was pretty angry because we weren’t successful,” he said. “But then as the team turned anger and frustration into motivation, the vibe started to change. After the turn around everyone seemed to relax and just focus on their role.”
Another SU football player, who chose to stay anonymous, said self-focus was the key to the turnaround. “We had a lot of fresh faces come in this fall and it took us a while to settle in and find our grove,” he said. “While losing you try everything you can to get out of it, guys try to do whatever they can, (and) sometimes it is too much. The biggest thing is just to do your job and do it well. If everyone focuses on themselves and doing their part the rest will come.”
And it did.
Manny Bruce is returning this fall to play one last season for the Mustangs. “Going into next season our coaches expect us to start off 200% better than this year,” Bruce said. “Building off our success this year is important for us as a program moving forward.”
If the Mustangs can in fact get off to a better start next year, Stevenson football fans may have a special season to savor next fall.
“No matter what, you always have to be persistent, show tenacity, and fortitude. You cannot hang your head and feel bad for yourself. Both as a team and individually we knew we just had to keep working at it and things would eventually fall in line for us.”