Morningside football coach Steve Ryan is a believer in team building activities. This summer Ryan and the Mustang seniors went to Colorado to prepare for the new season.
“We want to make playing football at Morningside an incredible life changing experience and that is not just only on the football field”, said Ryan. “It gives the guys a chance to go on a little adventure and climb a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado and just do something that a lot of the guys have not done.”
The plan has been working and the Mustangs have become a perennial power. They enter the new season ranked fourth in the pre-season NAIA Poll and are favored to win a seventh straight Great Plains Athletic Conference championship.
The biggest mountain, however, remains unconquered. Despite 13 straight playoff appearances the Mustangs are still in search of their first national championship. A challenging non-conference slate may boost their post season hopes. Morningside hosts NCAA division two Truman State in week three and opens with a visit to Saint Francis of Illinois out of the Mid-States Football Association.
“Many of our runs in the playoffs have come to an end playing Mid-States teams such as Marian and Saint Francis so we feel it is a really important game just to get us going from a physical standpoint”, added Ryan. “Truman State won their conference last year and should have been in the playoffs at 8-3 as a division two team. It will be a real test.”
Trent Solsma returns for his junior season at quarterback. The former Sioux City Heelan standout passed for nearly 3,300 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2016 and star receiver Connor Niles returns after being injured in the 2016 season opener. Niles led the NAIA ranks in all-purpose yards in 2015.