Mount Union sustains unprecedented D-III success

Posted On Sep 16 2020 by

first_img Published on November 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ When Mount Union, Division III football’s No. 1 team, beat Wilmington on the road on Oct. 24, it was the Purple Raider’s 100th consecutive regular season win. Mount Union won that game 69-0, its next two by a collective 97-0 margin and has outscored opponents this season 502-31.Head coach Vince Kehres is accustomed to success. Under his father, Larry Kehres, Mount Union won 54 consecutive games from 1996 to 1999, including three consecutive national championships. The team lost one game and then won 55 games in a row and three more championships.He is the third Purple Raiders coach since 1962 and took over from his father in 2013.“A lot of (college football) staffs have a lot of turnover, but we’re lucky here to have continuity,” Kehres said. “If you come back within 30 years of graduating, your coach is still here.  That gives us a strong (program). A lot of guys still feel connected.”Sixteen of 18 current coaches are alums. The program has had several NFL products, including wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts III as well as defensive coordinator Dom Capers.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut it’s this season’s success that is stranger than usual. After graduating Kevin Burke, two-time D-III player of the year at quarterback, Mount Union has relied on a wide receiver-turned-quarterback, a quarterback-turned-wide receiver and a once-undersized offensive lineman to lead the team. The difficulty of building a D-III powerhouse is only compounded by higher-level schools trawling Ohio, the lack of scholarships and conference rules prohibiting Kehres to make home visits.“(In recruiting), we sell tradition,” Kehres said. “We can sustain success. The key is getting (recruits) on campus in the fall. If they see the team play, they get a taste of the atmosphere.”Kehres spends a lot of time on the phone and the road during the season. When he’s not coaching his current team, he’s visiting high schools and meeting parents.He didn’t have to go far to recruit Taurice Scott, who attended high school nearby and played games in Mount Union’s stadium. He arrived a quarterback, but sat behind Burke for two seasons. Kehres decided Scott’s athleticism could be better used than holding a clipboard. Scott went from throwing passes to catching them, leading the 2014 team with 82 catches, 1,112 yards and 12 touchdowns.“I enjoyed being a wide receiver,” Scott said through a Mount Union spokesman. “But I missed being quarterback … there’s still the quarterback inside me.”With Burke gone, and newfound perspective, Kehres said, Scott switched back. This season, Scott leads all of D-III in passing efficiency (189.2), throwing for 25 touchdowns and two interceptions.Kehres’ philosophy, “PFP,” is one of the reasons Mount Union stays competitive year to year, he said. Kehres evaluates his “players,” then builds “formations” and “plays.”It’s not finding athletes that fit his system, it’s fitting his system to athletes.Sometimes he thinks not having scholarships is an advantage because he tinkers with his roster constantly. Before he switched Scott to receiver, Kehres tried him out as a defensive back. When he realized Roman Namdar wouldn’t play as a signal-caller behind Burke and Scott, he knew what to do.Namdar, now a senior, leads the team with 681 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. No receiver on the team has more than four scores. After switching positions, practice consistency became a key to success, Namdar said through a team spokesman.Additionally, Kehres looks for players who love the game. Without scholarships, he said, passion is instrumental in building culture. He saw the desire to play in Mike Frank, who initiated meetings with the coaching staff after attending a high school summer camp while he was a 235-pound offensive lineman.“Every time I turned around, he was here,” Kehres said. “He embraced the opportunity to be developed. I don’t know if we could’ve predicted (his success) in the recruiting process … We thought, ‘Maybe he’ll be a good project.’”Frank worked with the strength coaches, started as a sophomore and bulked up to 270 pounds as a senior before being named a preseason All-American.It’s the development, culture and adaptable system, which covers recruiting off years. It’s the philosophy of a program that’s been headed by a Kehres since 1986.“My dad had opportunities to leave, but he decided to stay and he felt comfortable here and he took pride in what we were putting together,” Kehres said. “It’d be difficult to leave because of how much we’ve invested … We want to see (success) carry on.” Commentslast_img read more

GFA insist Congo game is top priority

Posted On Aug 28 2020 by

first_imgThe Ghana Football Association insists that the Nations Cup qualifier against Congo remains priority number one as criticism grows that they are concentrating too much on the international friendly against England.Ghana are due to face the Congolese in a Nations Cup qualifier with a big bearing on the country’s prospects of qualifying for the 2012 Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.But much of the talk in the build-up to the game has been overshadowed by the prestigious friendly against the English, prompting a stinging editorial from the state-owned Graphic Sports about how too much attention is being focused on that game.GFA vice-president Fred Pappoe disagrees. “For the GFA, priority number one, two and three is the Congo game and we have made that very clear from day one. If the media chooses to focus a lot on the England game that cannot be out fault,” he said.“The game in Congo is a competitive qualifier and the one in England a friendly regardless of the pedigree and reputation of our opponents and we have to out that within the proper context.”Source: Kickofflast_img read more