Coming off a successful season with nine wins and three losses, the Harding Bison Football team is back for blood as they are determined to claim the Great American Conference championship title.
Although the Bisons are ranked second in the GAC preseason poll, junior student assistant Ellis Rampy said he isn’t worried one bit.
“We love being the underdogs, so even though we’re only ranked second, that’s just fuel for our fire,” Rampy said.
Just days away from the Bison football team’s first game against Ouachita Baptist, players and coaches are implementing strategies in practice that are sure to translate out on the field.
“We’ve worked a lot on trying to be incredibly detail driven and really not leaving any stone unturned, but doing every small thing the right way,” Head Coach Paul Simmons said.
Not only is Simmons ensuring the team is focusing on the small details of the game, but more so emphasizing the importance of the players’ character off the field.
“As far as the kind of men they are, ultimately, culture wins, and when I say culture, I’m talking about the character of the young men and the way they work, how they deal with adversity, how accountable they are, how selfless they are. Coach Simmons said, “Those are the things that lead to success”.
The football team strives to live out their motto for the season: Code Black. As the players come off the field, their attitudes remain the same. Through every win and loss, God is at the center of it all.
“Code Black means that above anything else we try and honor God in everything we do,” Rampy said, “It’s an identity the team tries to live by on and off the field”.
Although the Harding Bisons are unified in knowing they’re playing for a greater purpose than themselves, a new season means a new team. With each new season comes a different dynamic that creates its own set of challenges that players and coaches have to adapt to. However, junior linebacker Isaac Little is confident in the team’s ability to overcome any adversity the Bisons might face throughout the season.
“We have a lot of new seniors that are stepping up to be leaders on the team and I think we have a lot more talent on both sides of the ball and more experience than we did last season,” Little said.
The Harding Bison football team plays their first game Thursday, Sep. 5 and as they continue to prepare, players and coaches are eager to get a fast start to the season as they put up a fight against Ouachita Baptist.