The Pacific University football team enters the 2017 season with much to prove. After a down year in terms of wins and losses and new starters on both sides of the ball, the Boxers will be relying on their talent and potential going forward this season.
The Boxers first official game took place in Iowa Sept. 9 as they battled the University of Dubuque for the fourth straight season. Although the game ended in a 37-13 score in favor of Dubuque, the game proved to be a learning experience for many of the younger players.
“We have a lot of guys who are in positions to play who have never played college football before and after the first game we realized that we have a long way to go but we do have a lot of potential on the team,” senior defensive end Xavier Harvey said.“The mistakes we made were really small and fixable mistakes, so there was an upside to it even though we lost.”
Now in his senior year, Harvey has been one of the few players who has seen consistent playing time all four years at Pacific. Harvey has improved each season as a Boxer and this was proven after he earned second team all-Northwest Conference (NWC) honors last season.
With his experience, Harvey feels he can be a mentor for the young guys on this year’s squad.
“I think it’s almost like my duty to be a leader because when I was a younger player I had guys do the same thing for me,” Harvey said. “The best way to mentor someone is to lead by example, so at practice I make sure I’m always going 100 percent and at games I’m not giving up even when we are down and I’m not going to lighten up even when we are ahead. When guys see that, they are going to want to give that same effort and it rubs off.”
Even though this year’s team may be lacking the experience, many players feel like they make up for it in talent. One of these players is junior wide receiver Kobe Williams.
“I believe we have some of the best talent in the conference so I’m expecting our team to be able to compete at a high level every week,” Williams said.“I also believe our record last year didn’t necessarily represent our talent but more so our effort which was a huge emphasis this past off-season and going into fall camp.”
Williams is coming off a record breaking red shirt freshman season last year in which he set three school records in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He also earned NWC Freshman of the Year and first team all-NWC honors which will likely warrant extra attention by opposing teams.
“All I can do to combat the attention is to try and take my training to the next level and hope my team and I are blessed with a great season,” Williams said. “I never really go into a season with individual goals because I never want to give myself a ceiling. As for my team and I, we would love to win a conference championship.”
The Boxers are in action again this weekend as they travel to California Sept. 16 to take on Occidental College at 7 p.m.