Most of Morningside's football games are within a two or three hour drive of Sioux City. But the travel plans changed dramatically for the national championship game coming up Thursday in Georgia.
Moving an entire football team and their equipment halfway across the country presents a big challenge.
Not many fans know who the equipment manager is on their favorite football team. But Morningside's Andy Poulosky knows he'll hear his name called if something is missing.
"You've got to make sure you have double of everything, triple of everything," said Poulosky. "Extra jerseys, pants, facemasks for helmets, everything you could just about think of, every part of a helmet, every part of a shoulder pad. There's a lot. The list is long."
Poulosky, who also coaches Morningside's defensive lineman, estimates there's about 55-70 pounds of equipment per player. He's been in big games before as a player at Nebraska, but the stress level goes up when the stakes get higher.
"You're not going to an away game for just one day, you're going down for a whole week. If something breaks while you're practicing down there, you've got to make sure you've got plenty of everything."
"The pieces that hold the facemask on, those can get hit and break, you've got to have the screws for those. The helmet snaps, for the chinstraps, you've got to have those ready to go. Those bust all the time. You've got to have extra facemasks. Sometimes the facemasks break. They get dented, all sorts of things like that when guys hit hard."
"You've really got to plan ahead," added Poulosky. "You've really got to put together a rough schedule of what you think you're going to need and really have stuff organized when you get down there so everything can run smoothly for the team."
After a three-hour packing job, Morningside hired a U-Haul truck for the 1,000 mile trip to Rome, Georgia. Poulosky got to fly with the team, while the head athletic trainer had to drive the equipment.
"I'll probably hear about how bad the drive was when I get down there," said Poulosky. "I'm sure he'll probably ask me to drive back a couple of times but that's probably not going to happen. He'll probably get stuck driving back too."
Poulosky also had to pack 25 footballs for practice and 15 balls for the game, with a few extra in case of bad weather.
Morningside and Marian (IN) play in the NAIA Championship Game on Thursday at 5:30 CT.
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