SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KCAU) – In sports, nothing is promised, and everything is earned.
That’s the mentality of the #17 Dordt football team as well during their spring season, as the Defenders hope that their resume will be enough to earn them a spot in the NAIA playoffs, which were moved to this spring due to the effects of COVID-19.
Dordt ended their regular season in November, outscoring their opponents 129-0 in their final two games to end the season 7-2. Their only two losses coming in a 48-40 shootout versus #7 Northwestern, and coming up five yards short in the fourth quarter versus #1 Morningside in a 35-30 loss, the closest game the Mustangs played all year. But despite their only losses coming to some of the nation’s best teams, the Defenders weren’t satisfied with where they were in the rankings, so they worked on scheduling a spring game, finding Oklahoma Panhandle State as an opponent.
Dordt dominated their extra spring game, winning 53-0, extending their streak of shutouts to three games. For reference, OPSU only gave up more than 35 points twice all season, with one of those games coming against the Defenders, the other coming against NCAA DII school West Texas A&M.
So for five months, Dordt players and coaches have continued early practices, workouts, and conditioning for a chance at playing at least one extra game in the NAIA playoffs. There’s never been a guarantee, and even just a few days out of the playoff selection show, the Defenders are still very much on the bubble. That said, this year’s seniors haven’t faltered, showing up for all of the extra work without the promise of a game, even when, under normal circumstances, they would have been done with their careers in November or December.
Think about this, would you sign up for five extra months of work, without any guarantee of it paying off? All while putting a future career or life plans on hold? It’s a difficult decision, but one that has left the coaching staff at Dordt grateful for such a senior class, and even more hopeful that their seniors will reap the rewards of their hard work with a playoff game next Saturday.
The NAIA will announce it’s 16-team playoff field on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. CST.