The Surrey Mustangs are busy on the field, working out the kinks of last year’s first-round loss in the playoffs. With most of the team returning this fall, head coach Mark Kennedy says he’s hopeful the Mustangs will have plenty of trips to the end zone.
“It’s great to be back. Great to be out here with the guys and I’m real excited for this season,” said Chris Jenner, running back.
Jenner is just one of about 20 guys returning to the field.
Last fall, the Mustangs went 7-1 in the regular season.
“I feel like the thing that helped us the most and our biggest weapon was definitely our passion for the game and our teamwork. In the hard moments, we really played well together and we had a lot of different guys, especially younger guys step up into really big roles when they needed to, and that was a huge help for us,” Jenner said.
“Practicing all the time, being in the weight room, conditioning a lot, being with these guys. Just everything pays off when you go out there to perform,” said Ethan Hanson, kicker/receiver.
“Consistency. A lot of our kids that will be seniors this year have been starting since they were sophomores. The offensive system hasn’t changed. The defensive system has changed a little bit, but you’ve still got to rally to the ball and make tackles. As far as the game, and the play-calling and what we do as a team, that part has helped us be successful,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy is heading into his sixth year as head coach of the Mustangs.
Making the next game better than the last is just one of the philosophies he’s been teaching since arriving in Surrey.
Another is having the boys remember why they continue to put on the pads and play under the Friday night lights.
“Love the reason why you’re out here. You know, some kids play because they want to go to college and play football. Some kids play because their dad played. Some kids play because they have a friend out here playing. Whatever that reason is, love that reason and you give yourself a chance to be successful,” Kennedy said.
“Just the love for these guys, my dad, you know. Just looking up to him, you know. Looking up to the coaches. Everything about it. It’s just a family. I love playing the game,” Hanson said.
“I play for all these guys out here. There’s nothing like it. No other sport do you build a family quite like this and I love every minute of it and there’s no one I’d rather do it with,” Jenner added.
“I just love the game. This game has been so special to me and my family. And to be able to help kids learn this game and life, it’s an awesome thing,” Kennedy said.
“You never know what could happen so always play your game like it’s your last,” Hanson said.
The Mustangs host the Tioga Pirates on Friday at 7 p.m.