Football Team Seeking Redemption
By Jonathan Bonilla
The Kean University Cougars football team finished the 2013 regular season with a 2-8 record, putting up the lowest numbers in rushing, passing, and scoring since head coach Dan Garrett took over in 2006.
The Cougars had a senior lead team where many played for the first time.
“At the end of the day, they were a great bunch of guys,” Garrett said. “They were bought in and they believed in our system, it was just game experience and the lack of.”
Since then, the team has been making changes with personnel, making cuts and taking in transfers and freshmen. In addition to those changes, Garrett has taken over the role of offensive coordinator.
“I just think the mentality needed to be one that had to go back to the roots of any successful organization, which is discipline,” Garrett said.
Seeking redemption, the Cougars will strive to reach their peak, taking it one game at a time, in the 2014 season as Garrett hopes to compete for the NJAC championship.
“If we do what we’re supposed to do and go 1-0 every week,” Garrett said. “We should be right where we need to be to compete for NJAC Championship.”
The Cougars lost its Sept. 5 season opener to the Albright Lions 25-14. The game got out of hand in the second quarter when an Albright player threw a punch and got ejected in an altercation on the Cougars sideline after a play. Shortly after that, game officials ejected a second Albright player after he body slammed Cougars quarterback, Charles Vellis. The Cougars kept their composure throughout the game showing no signs of retaliation.
After trailing 16-0 at the half, Albright scored again midway through the third quarter but a blocked extra point kept the Lions at bay. The Cougars found some momentum after an eight yard touchdown pass to Quadir Johnson from Vellis.
The Cougars defense held off Albright’s offense allowing another touchdown pass from Vellis, this time to Dante Burton and then a 2-point conversion from Robert Meade III to Burton, making the score 22-14. Needing another touchdown and a 2-point conversion, a late interception thrown by Vellis stopped the would-be comeback. Albright then made a field goal, finishing the game 25-14.
The Cougars will return home against Endicott College on Sept 20 after a bye week.
“We have a bye week, where we’re going to go back to like a mini camp. These guys aren’t going to have an easy week.”
The Cougars will try to keep their expectations high and carry out the rest of the season, despite their opening loss. There is work to be done for the Cougars, but it’s early in the season so there’s plenty of time for them to get into gear.
“Our goal was to obviously win our opener, and that didn’t happen,” Garret said.” No matter how successful you were the week before, or if you didn’t have success, that has to be in the past and we have to work for the next week.”