After breaking a lengthy playoff drought a year ago the William Penn football team will be looking for a return trip this season. The Statesmen finished 9-3 in 2012 and earned their first playoff trip since 1976 before falling in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs to St. Xavier of Illinois.
Penn coach Todd Hafner says they didn’t play very well against a good football team, but they got some good experience and it challenged them to get better in the offseason. Hafner has a lot of experienced players returning, including senior quarterback Taylor Parsons, who directs the Statesmen’s triple option attack.
“Anytime your quarterback can be that coach on the field, it sure makes everything a lot easier,”Hafner says. He says Parsons gets the team’s attention when he speaks and the players know what he is saying is coming from the coaches.
Penn averaged more than 300 yards per game on the ground but Hafner says to take the next step they need to be more effective throwing the ball. He says they will continue to run the football and he says after seeing how some of the top teams operate they know they have to throw the ball better to advance.
The Statesmen face a challenging schedule that includes a season opening trip to ninth ranked Bethel of Tennessee as well as an early season trip to division two Truman State.
Penn is ranked 16th in the pre-season NAIA poll.