Football’s memorable season ends after second round of playoffs

The University of Indianapolis football team finished their 2018 season with an overall record of 10-2.

“We are extremely happy with how this season went and extremely proud of the senior class this year,” Former Head Football Coach Bob Bartolomeo said.

The UIndy football team’s season ended on Nov. 24 against Ouachita Baptist University in the second round of playoffs with a score of 35-7. At the beginning of the season during conference play, the team lost their first game against Grand Valley State University but then came back and became undefeated until their meet up with Ouachita Baptist.

Redshirt senior quarterback Jake Purichia said his last season will be one to remember. Purichia started in all 12 games this year and lead the team to an overall 7-0 record in conference.

“It was a really fun season. Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to obviously,” Purichia said. “But there were still a lot of positives that came out of it. We had a good record and being able to say we were the second team in program history to win a playoff game was a pretty great feeling. Overall, there were just more positives than negatives to take away.”

Due to being a redshirt, Purichia has been a part of the UIndy football team for the past five years while studying health and physical education. Purichia said that his experience playing for the university has changed his life in a positive way.

“To be able to play for coaches like we do is amazing. The coaches are very passionate and they care about you as a person more than just football,” Purichia said. “They care about your schooling as well as how you are doing overall in life. To play for coaches like that, as well as meeting all the guys on the team, was an amazing experience.”

Purichia is not the only one who felt that the football season was a memorable one. Senior defensive lineman Lucas Rice said he will always reminisce on the experiences he had.

“There are so many things, but the biggest would be being around the guys in the locker room and on and off the field,” Rice said. “You miss the friendships and bonds you make. You’re around these guys every single day, and that will be something I miss the most.”

According to Bartolomeo, looking back on the season, one game that was important to him was senior day on Nov. 10 against Hillsdale College.

“The Hillsdale game was one of our favorite games,” Bartolomeo said. “It was a really good feeling, walking out of there because we beat a good football team. I think that it inspired the next week, as well as the rest of the season.”

The following week, the UIndy football team played in the first round of NCAA Division II playoffs for the GLVC where they successfully won 39-27 against Fort Hays State University.

After that game, they traveled to Arizona to face Ouachita Baptist for their first time playing against this team. UIndy had their playoff run ended with a loss of 35-7 against Ouachita Baptist, which ended their 2018 season. Now that the season is done, students are able to work on their academics and workout on their own to prepare for when they come back second semester.

“Now, we focus on recruiting for the team,” Bartolomeo said. “We want our students to focus on their studies and finals until the end of the semester. Coming back in January we crank it back up.”

Even though the team will be losing their 14 seniors, Bartolomeo said he knows that his players will step up to fill those spots in the next upcoming season.

The football team held their award banquet on Dec. 2 to recognize players. During the banquet, seniors wide receiver Malik Higgins, quarterback Jake Purichia, defensive line Lucas Rice and linebacker Cole Sigmund received captain awards. Seniors defensive lineman Erik Hart, defensive back Robert Williams, Purichia, Higgins, Sigmund, redshirt sophomore linebacker Kyle Petroff, sophomore offensive line Clay Hadley, freshmen running back Toriano Clinton, defensive line Jacob Jones, quarterback Cam Misner, and linebacker BJ Graves all received single awards.

“We lose a bunch of great players, but we also have a bunch of great players coming back,” Bartolomeo said. “It is going to be up to the upcoming senior class to be the leaders. We will go as they go. We have enough fire power coming back on both sides of the ball.”