Luke Schwartz | Staff Writer
Over the last four years, Whitworth football has won more games than any other time in the history of the program. 2018 Northwest Conference champions. 2019, to be determined.
After a historic undefeated NWC record of 9-0 in 2018, the Pirates continue to look for improvement as the new year pushes forward.
“We always have one very simple goal for our team and that is to be our best. The best that we can be,” said head coach Rod Sandberg.
Coach Sandberg, entering his sixth season under the helm with Whitworth, has garnered a 41-11 overall record and the most wins in program history for a four year stretch with 35.
“We don’t focus on the result of winning, we focus on the process and doing things right that will help us have the success we want,” he said.
Sandberg knows the process of repeating is difficult, but can be done.
“First step in trying to repeat is knowing that you don’t deserve it and we have to earn it,” said Sandberg.
Sophomore safety B.J. Mullin discussed the pressure that arises from the recent success.
“I wouldn’t say pressure, I would say momentum,” he said. “ I think that Coach Sandberg has got the whole staff and us as a team believing its momentum rather than pressure. Looking to build off that and get more wins every year.”
Although the results show big wins and satisfying statistics, keeping every player in check and on the right direction can be a daunting task.
“Every time I walk into a room with 112 people who are all thinking of something different, my job is to have them leave there thinking something similar,” said Sandberg.
Every year has a different theme for the football team, and this year it’s “All My Love.”
“Love is such a big word. I was so hesitant to choose it as our theme because love and football equal risky,” said Sanberg. “But I really thought our program was at a place where we were ready to be vulnerable and take on something like that.”
As the regular season begins and the class work starts to pile up, the players are confident in staying focused and embracing their new theme.
“A theme gives you something to lean on, it’s the backbone of our team,” said Mullin. “‘All My Love’ creates that vibe for something we all buy into.”
“We’re not last year’s team. We got rid of those seniors and brought in 48 freshmen. We’re a whole new group,” said Sandberg. “We don’t want to make comparisons, we don’t want to look at the past or look at what we could’ve had. We want to be the best that we can be and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Pirates will travel to Orange, California on Saturday, September 21 against Chapman University.