The Northwestern College football team is the coaches pick to win the GPAC this year.
ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- -
The Northwestern College football team was the coaches pick to win the GPAC this year. The Red Raiders are ranked 10th in the NAIA to start the season.
Northwestern went 9-2 last season, winning their last 8 games. Both losses came to ranked teams, but the Red Raiders still missed the playoffs.
The Raiders led the GPAC in total offense and return starting QB Davis Bloemendaal. Running back Brandon Smith is also back after consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Northwestern returns 10 offensive starters from last year.
"It's like we never lost a step this fall," said Northwestern head coach Kyle Achterhoff. "First day of camp our guys picked up right where we left off in the spring, which is huge when you don't have to re-teach things. When you have a veteran group that steps up and does it, even the young guys learn so much faster that way. We haven't lost a step."
The Northwestern defense only gave up 15 points a game last season, while leading the conference in yards allowed. Eight starters are back on that side, hoping to make life miserable for opposing offenses.
"Obviously as a defensive whole we want to keep other teams from scoring," said senior defensive lineman Jordan Carlson. "That's our main goal. If they don't score. They don't win. That's kind of our main priority is working hard, doing the things we're supposed to do in practice to get ready for the games and in turn hopefully that leads to wins."
Northwestern opens the season on Thursday, August 30th, against Southwestern of Kansas. In week two, they travel to play 8th-ranked Morningside in a 7 o'clock game in Sioux City. That's on September 8th.
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