FORT WAYNE — Senior quarterback David Morrison said Concordia’s coaches didn’t even know the last time the program enjoyed this kind of regular-season success.
That’s because it has been three decades since the Cadets won six games in the regular season.
Concordia clinched a 6-3 record with a road win against then-Class 3A No. 4 Indianapolis Brebeuf 34-27 in the regular-season finale last Friday. The 1983 team went 6-4 but didn’t make the playoffs.
“It’s hard to even describe how proud we are that we went 6-3,” Morrison said. “We are not completely satisfied, and we still have a lot of work to do in the postseason. We still have a lot of goals unaccomplished.
“From the point where we started the season to where we are now, there’s been a vast improvement in all aspects of the team. Gradually things just kept improving, and we got to the point where we got comfortable with each other and got good chemistry.”
This coming from a program that was 2-8 in 2012, was 1-9 in 2011 and 2010, and hadn’t had a winning record since 2007 when the Cadets went 9-5 (5-4 in the regular season) and lost in the semistate.
“We are playing a tough schedule,” said coach Tim Mannigel, who has been a part of the program since 1997. “To go 6-3, they should take some pride in that. No matter what happens in the playoffs, they can’t take that away from this team. Not that they should rest on their laurels either.”
The postseason begins for No. 9 Concordia tonight at Lakeland (7-2). The Cadets beat the Lakers 35-3 two weeks ago at home.
The recent success started after a loss – 14-13 to SAC runner-up Snider on Sept. 20. The Cadets are 4-0 since and have become one of the hottest teams around.
Concordia finished 4-3 in the SAC, good for fourth place. The Cadets had finished at or near the bottom of the conference the last three years.
“We have struggled the past couple of years, and the payoff is tremendous,” senior offensive lineman/linebacker Tony Perugini said. “Not many teams really respected us, and to come out and play this well is a dream come true to finish senior year this strong.”
The signature win was last week’s confidence-boosting win against the Braves.
“To go down there and show what we got and bring everything together, it gave us a great look for the postseason,” Perugini said. “We knew coming into the game, it was going to be a great challenge so we had one of the best weeks of practice we have ever had and things came together.”
Credit a 16-member senior class. While it may not seem large to some schools, the Cadets are accustomed to five- or six-member senior classes.
“For once at Concordia, we don’t have to rely on seemingly exclusively on sophomores and juniors,” Mannigel said. “We have seniors out there who have been through the battles.”
Some of them have been on varsity since they were freshmen and some started that first season.
“(The seniors) have been playing with each other since fifth grade at Holy Cross, so it is coming to a conclusion, and we are doing great things,” Perugini said.