Lindenwood football set to return to action for spring season

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James Tananan Kamnuedkhun

Quarterback Cade Brister (right, #4) runs past a defender and prepares for contact with another in Lindenwood’s 28-27 loss against No. 16 Midwestern State University Texas on Sept. 14, 2019.

Lucas Boze, Reporter

Editor’s note: Lindenwood has decided to opt out of the spring 2021 season. Read about it here.

Football season is finally upon us and Lindenwood is looking to defend its Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Championship. 

For the first time ever, the football regular season will take place in the spring semester. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GLVC Council of Presidents decided that it was in the best interest of players and staff to postpone the season of most sports, football included. 

After a full semester of waiting, the 2020-2021 season is finally ready to begin. 

This football season will look different from any other. The season will consist of four games and one interdivision scrimmage.  

Usually there are 11 regular season games and a full playoff bracket. For this season, however, the conference is split into two divisions, the East and the West, with Lindenwood being in the East division.

Lindenwood will play the other teams in the East division for the first three regular season games. After those are finished, Lindenwood will play a team from the other division who will be determined by seed. 

The top teams from each division will play in the GLVC Championship game with all other teams playing for third through seventh place. 

Even with the season being shorter, it does not mean that it is less important in the eyes of the players and coaches.  

Lindenwood is coming off a season that saw the Lions go undefeated in conference play and win the GLVC Championship. Many of the players from that successful 2019 team are returning for this modified season. 

Some of those key returners include starting quarterback Cade Brister, wide receiver Payton Rose, and center Connor Mazzotta. 

Brister started all 13 games and set multiple school records last season on his way to securing the GLVC Offensive Player of the Year award. Brister led the Lions to a GLVC championship and a first round playoff win against Ouachita Baptist University. 

Rose also had a strong year, setting a school record of 15 receiving touchdowns in 13 games. 

Mazzotta started all 13 games at center last season and led a Lions offensive line that only allowed an average of two sacks per game. 

Even after a season that included multiple school records and a conference championship, Brister isn’t setting expectations too high. 

The expectation for the season is to take each game one at a time and finish after week one, 1-0,” Brister said in an email. 

The goal for this season under this different format is to make every game count. There will be much less room for mistakes with there only being four games in the season. 

Brister said that the coaching staff has done their best to ensure that their players are ready for the challenges ahead. 

“Our coaches have done a great job preparing us for all the different challenges we have been facing,” Brister said. “We are just excited to get back on the field and practice.” 

The team has put in the effort to have a successful season. According to Brister, players that live far from campus stayed with players that live close to campus so that they could get in as much work as possible. 

“We have spent a ton of time with Coach [JC] Hull. I know last summer we had a ton of guys in town staying at local players’ houses and working out,” Brister said. 

The team will start their regular season with an away game against McKendree University on April 3 in Lebanon, Ill. 

Lindenwood’s final two games will take place at home in Hunter Stadium. Lindenwood will take on the University of Indianapolis on April 10, and Quincy University on April 17. 

After the regular season has concluded, a GLVC playoff game will take place on April 24. Lindenwood’s opponent will be determined by seed. 

According to the Lindenwood athletics COVID-19 action plan, spectators will be allowed at Lindenwood home games. Players will be allowed four passes to home competitions and all Lindenwood students will be allowed to attend the games. 

The full Lindenwood football schedule and COVID-19 action plan can be found through the Lindenwood University athletics page.