Wartburg College opens the football season on the road at St. Norbert. The Knights are coming off a season in which they made it all the way to the quarterfinal round of the division-three national playoffs.
A number of key performers from that team have graduated and coach Rick Willis says a senior class of 20 players is expected to lead the way. Willis says they have a lot of guys who have done important things in the past, but they are going to be asked to play a larger role and how they step up will determine the team’s success.
Wartburg is the pre-season favorite in the Iowa Conference race and is ranked in many pre-season polls. Willis feels that is based in part on past success. Willis says they have a football team, but he doesn’t know where they should be ranked.
One of the biggest reasons for optimism is the return of quarterback Nick Yordi. The Solon native passed for more than three thousand yards and 25 touchdowns in 2008. Willis says Yordi had a tremendous camp and is a model leader on the field.
Willis says Yordi’s presence gives the team confidence, and there is no question he is comfortable with offense and allows them to do more things with the offense.
Story by Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein