The Franklin College football team ended its season 8-2 overall, but as a whole, the team achieved many things.
Several people, inside and outside of the football team, think the season was unsuccessful because Franklin didn’t make it to the national playoffs as they have in the past, but head football coach Mike Leonard thinks differently.
“Even though some people think it was not successful, relationships were made and truly the success of a season, to me, will not necessarily be judged immediately right now, but years later,” Leonard said.
In his office, he has large frames of photos of past players and can tell you their successful careers and lives. Leonard said it’s neat to see previous players again and hear they are doing well from what they learned at Franklin by setting goals.
“At the start of the season we map out a bunch of goals that we would like to accomplish,” Leonard said. “Some of them we did and a couple of them we didn’t. But it’s the striving for it that is the fun of it.”
For the past 10 years, Leonard has scheduled tough non-conference opponents where Franklin had come up short on most of those games. Yet, one of the team’s accomplishments was winning their opening game of the year, a non-conference opponent.
“We had a great comeback from behind against Thomas Moore in the last minutes,” Leonard said.
Another goal for the season dealt with the mindset of the players, thinking of going 1-0 each week. This thinking prevailed in the season opener, but fell during the second week when the team faced the Butler University bulldogs, and again in their toss-up with Rose–Hulman Institute of Technology.
Every year, the football team holds a final team meeting, crowding the Hamilton Library auditorium with 130 players. Seniors reflect on their overall experience and returning players look forward to what is coming next season.
“I know a lot will happen next year without the 2017 class,” junior running back Tanner Kameda said. “It’s my last year, but it’ll be the best year yet.”
The focus for next year will be commitment and leadership at all times, both on and off the field, to step up their game and accomplish the goals the team didn’t achieve this year.
“The leadership program will teach the players leadership and fellowship,” Leonard said. “Not only will there be success in the sport, but also in their careers and future lives.”
Senior defensive back Trevon Sevion said his advice to returning players is to always keep a positive energy and attitude on and off the field, even during the tough times.
“I definitely enjoyed the season,” Sevion said. “I was successful in making new friends, meeting new people and, as a whole, the team definitely saw where we were and we can see where we can get.”