Redhawks kick off season tonight

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Southeast players are eager to get the 2009 campaign started against Quincy

After a summer's worth of voluntary workouts and nearly a month of official practice, Southeast Missouri State football players are tired of banging on each other.

The Redhawks are anxious to do battle against outside competition -- and they'll finally get that chance tonight.

Southeast opens its 2009 season when Quincy (Ill.) University visits Houck Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

"Everybody's looking forward to blocking some other people, tackling some other people," senior wide receiver Walter Peoples said.

Added senior linebacker Josh Woods: "It's about that time. We're ready for the season to start."

Not only are the Redhawks excited about playing their first game, senior punter/kicker Doug Spada believes they're also ready to take on an opponent.

"We put in a lot of hard work, had a real good [fall] camp," Spada said. "It's time to show what we've worked on. We're as prepared as we can be at this point."

The Redhawks know they have to be prepared, because Quincy, which defeated Indiana State 26-20 in overtime last Thursday, will have the advantage of already playing a game.

"Yeah, they got a chance to get some of the kinks out," Woods said. "We just have to come out and play mistake-free football."

The result of Quincy's opening contest will no doubt give the Hawks plenty of confidence tonight.

Quincy, an NAIA program, won at Indiana State 26-20 in overtime last Thursday for its first victory over a Division I-AA team in nine attempts.

"They're looking to come in here and win," Spada said. "They're not coming in here to roll over."

Southeast's defense will have to be on its toes against Quincy's spread offense, but the Redhawks don't figure to be surprised by anything since they face spread attacks on a regular basis.

"It's not really out of our comfort zone. It's what we're used to," Woods said.

Southeast has posted just two winning records since moving up to Division I-AA in 1991, the most recent such season coming in 2002.

The Redhawks, 4-8 last year, express confidence that this will be their breakthrough season. They know they need to get things started on the right foot, especially with a date at defending Big East Conference champion Cincinnati looming next week.

"It's now. Things need to change now," Peoples said. "The biggest thing, the first game will set the tempo for the entire season.

"Right now, everything is based on this game."

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