Playing for David

After suffering the loss of one of their own, David Jackson, a few short weeks ago, the Big Blue had one thing on their mind. Play for David.

Every team wants to win, but for the Big Blue, the want has turned into a need. Winning felt more important than anything else on Thursday night. Millikin refused to lose, and they planned on dedicating their win to Jackson.

A moment of silence for Jackson would kick off the evening. As the Big Blue took the field without number 18, their focus centered on dominating the Greenville Panthers.

And they did exactly that.

From the start of the game, Millikin controlled the tempo. The first play of the ballgame was a forced fumble and recovery by the Big Blue. Although they didn’t score on their first drive, they would go on to put up several points early on.

Quarterback Nicco Stepina would lead the offense, with a record setting seven touchdowns and 306 passing yards. Stepina would leave mid third quarter. On the receiving end of almost half of Stepina’s touchdowns was sophomore Jordan Smith. The running game didn’t fare as well as the passing game, but they still played hard and played a role in the win, according to head coach, Dan Gritti.

“The overall effort and energy was high and a positive,” Gritti said. I thought all of our running backs played well and ran hard which is something that didn’t always happen last year.”

Earlier in the week, Gritti predicted his defense would play well, which is exactly what they did. The Big Blue defense may have been overshadowed by the offense, but they still made big plays of their own. The defensive unit held the Panthers to only 3 points, and they blocked two Panther punts. The second one gave the defense their first touchdown of the season.

First time player and senior Ben Spelman had a big night as well. In his debut, Spelman was 10 for 10 for extra points and forced four touchbacks on 12 kickoffs.

Millikin went on to win 76-3. Although this was a huge win for the Big Blue, Gritti is still not satisfied.

There is still room for improvement. One win does not define this team and their season.

They plan on playing one game at a time and not focusing on the outcome as much.

“We are going to continue to focus on the process and not pay much attention to the result….and the process of tonight’s game while good in spots still needs substantial improvement,” Gritti said

Next Saturday, the Big Blue will face off against Rose Hulman, in an away matchup, where they hope to continue their dominance. No matter the outcome, one thing is certain. Their fight for David will continue to show, as it will throughout the season. They will play for David and, more importantly, for each other.