Augustana Football gave students their first opportunity to watch a live sporting event this school year by hosting an open scrimmage at Kirkeby-Over Stadium (KO) on Saturday, Oct. 10.
Students lined the lawn around Jim Heinitz field to cheer on the game. Players were fully geared and fired up to get some live competition in. The stadium had some Viking Days decor for students to take pictures around.
“The whole day kind of felt like a game-day,” Athletic Director Josh Morton said. “To be able to do something like this on such a beautiful day for our students on campus means a lot. Overall it was just awesome.”
The team started off the day by running situational plays from several scenarios which included red-zone, goal-line and multiple 3rd-Down yardages before ending with a 35-minute full tackle scrimmage.
“It’s awesome when we can come into KO and have this experience,” Head Coach Jerry Olszewski said. “I’m amazed at how many students showed up. With friends and family here, that makes it special.”
The offense shined early for the Vikings when redshirt sophomore wide receiver Logan Uttecht hauled in a 30-yard touchdown in the back corner of the end zone off a pass from senior quarterback Kyle Saddler.
“It was a fun time to get that atmosphere again and play football,” Uttecht said. “We were just trying to get the younger guys deep into the playbook and get them game-like reps to improve.”
With the underclassmen and redshirts on the team being able to play in a live situation, the leadership skills on both sides of the ball showed. Upperclassmen and coaches talked on the sidelines and showed the younger players what they needed to do to improve in certain situations.
“We need more situational football—that was very clear,” Olszewski said. “It’s the little things that we will get better in. The biggest thing for me was getting the kids the opportunity to compete.”
The team will have three more weeks of practice before shutting it down on Oct. 31. With nothing planned yet for the spring season, the team is still hoping to get a few games in.
Due to the game being closed to students and recruits, non-student fans were unable to be inside the stadium. However, they were able to set up shop on the hill overlooking the south end of the stadium.
Morton and Olszewski both expressed their hope to be able to do something similar to the scrimmage again in the near future that can allow fans outside of the school to come.