BY BEN GAVLIK
BETHANY, W.Va. Although the Bethany Football team was picked to finish seventh in the annual Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Media Day, Khallid Pierce (Youngstown, Ohio) remains confident entering his senior year. “The predictions don’t really mean anything to us. The team knows we have to put in the work to overcome those expectations.”
Defending PAC-champions Thomas More was picked to win the conference. While Pierce recognizes Thomas More as a tough competitor, he has respect for every team in the league. “One of our toughest opponents is always going to be Thomas More, but I see every team as a competitor. We’ve seen in the past that any team on the schedule is capable of beating you. That’s something our coaches always remind us to keep us focused.”
The Bison enters the season with over 15 returning starters including star defensive end Khallid Pierce. Despite Pierce’s huge impact on the defensive end, others will have to step up in order for the team to be successful. “Our quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio) will obviously play a big role in our success. Without a good quarterback, it’s difficult to be competitive.”
Pierce also has huge expectations for the Bison defense. “Defense will also be important. Some key players include Joseph Fiasco (Wilmerding, Pa.), John Lee (Worthington, Ohio), Majied Bey (Oakland, Calif.), Will Kanters (Massillon, Ohio), there are so many other players you could name but we’ll need the defense to play well since our team is more experienced at those positions compared to others.”
Pierce enters the season ranked fifth all-time in Bethany College history with 19.5 sacks. But, when asked about his personal goals, breaking the record is the last thing on his mind. “I just want a championship before I leave. Before Bethany, I’ve been able to win a championship on every major level of sports I’ve played. I really want to win one here and create a tradition.”
High caliber athletes such as Pierce often use inspirational quotes for motivation. For Pierce, his motivation comes from American comedian and activist Dick Gregory. “He always used a quote that said, “Fear and God can’t occupy the same space.” This means if you believe in some kind of high power, you can’t believe in fear.” Pierce believes it’s this fearless mentality that has helped him have success playing for Bethany.
Pierce and the Bison defense will be lead by their new offensive coordinator and former NFL player David Arnold. According to Pierce, Arnold’s main objectives for the defense are to have fun and play together. “He’s helped us understand all our jobs help each other and are tied together. It’s definitely not about self-ball or pointing the finger at each other.”
Despite big expectations from Pierce and The Bison, the team has lost their first two games of their season. Pierce believes nerves and a lack of unity has led to their struggles. “We need to get those first game nerves out of us and our leaders need to show up more now than ever. Especially at the start of the season, you can’t be off assignments and doing your own thing. We have to be on our ‘A’ game from now on and we have to play as a team.”
The Bison start conference play next Saturday, September 16th when they host Thiel College at Bison Stadium for a 1 P.M. kickoff.