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2015 Avila Football Preview

Contributed by admin on Aug 26, 2015 - 12:28 AM
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Kansas City, MO – After starting the 2014 season off with a 3-0 record for the first time in the program's history, the 2015 Avila football team will look to continue building themselves into a contender in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Last season, the Eagles used a high powered offense and a swarming defense to outscore their opponents, 156-78 over the first three games. The Eagles' defense forced their opponents into 8 turnovers during the streak, while the offense committed zero turnovers during the same span. As a result of their hot start, the Eagles received votes in the NAIA Top 25 rankings for the first time in school history.

The great start in 2014 was negated by multiple key injuries, including a season-ending shoulder injury to quarterback Calvin Jacobson, who threw for 589 yards and 8 touchdowns in 3 games before being sidelined. The Eagles finished the 2015 season with a record of 4-7, but are poised to be even better in 2015 with the return of Jacobson and the addition of a healthy Alyn Jackson at the running back position. Avila head coach Justin Berna returns multiple key starters on the offensive and defensive side of things in 2015, and should have more depth with another solid list or recruits coming to campus this fall.

The 2015 team will be the largest in team history, with 120 players breaking camp for the Eagles. With the larger team will come more competition up and down the depth chart, something welcomed by head coach Justin Berna, who is entering his 5thseason at Avila.

"We have a big team this year, there's no doubt about that," Berna said. "I think having this many guys has given us position battles in almost every position this season, from a starter to the second or third team, and that is great for us. Depth has always been a big issue for us, so hopefully that can change this season."

Avila will play this season without linebacker David Kepus, who was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer earlier this summer. Kepus, a senior from Kansas City, finished with 28 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season while playing in 7 games. Fellow senior Ryan Nace will wear No. 44 this season in honor of Kepus. Nace and Kepus have been roommates throughout their Avila careers.

The Eagles will have their work cut out for them this season as the Heart of America Athletic Conference has added two powerhouse programs to the mix in No. 6 Grand View and No. 19 William Penn, bringing the number of teams in the Heart to 12. With the additions, every game that Avila plays this season will be a conference game.

Avila will kick off the 2015 season on the road with a 6 p.m. matchup with the Graceland Yellowjackets in Lamoni, Iowa on August 29th. The Eagles will open up the home portion of their schedule the next week when they host No. 25 Benedictine at 1 p.m. on September 5th.

2015 Avila Football Roster

2015 Avila Football Schedule