Team bonds off the field to produce chemistry on the field
Sports | Tyler Schmidt for The Clarion
The football team enjoys time at King's Pointe Waterpark and Resort in Storm Lake, Iowa before their game against Buena Vista. Bethel defeated the Buena Vista Beavers 47-14 in their first away game.
The Bethel football team is no stranger to being on the road. When asked about how long road trips affect the team, head coach Steve Johnson simply replied, “We love ‘em.”
It’s easy to see why Johnson and the rest of team love the road. The Royals have been extremely successful on overnight trips, including their most recent trip to Buena Vista, which resulted in a 47-14 victory.
Over the last three regular seasons, the Royals have had paramount success, going 4-0 on drives of three hours or longer. Bethel has been dominant, winning by a combined margin of 113 points in those regular season road games.
“We love the road,” Johnson said. “We’ve learned how to be successful through playoff games.”
Making the NCAA Division III tournament numerous times has helped the Royals perform well on their longer road trips. According to Johnson, the team has learned to embrace road trips because they are used to traveling in the post-season.
“Because we are often a lower seed in the playoffs, we’re forced to travel long distances to play teams,” he said.
The Royals have made the post-season two of the last three years and have traveled a total of 2,011 miles for playoff games alone. In those games the Royals are 4-2, an impressive mark considering less than eight percent of Division III football teams even make the post-season.
“I get super jacked every time we go on a road trip,” senior cornerback Josh Treimer said. “It gives us a chance to bond and grow closer together outside of a mere football connection, which in turn reflects in increased chemistry on the field.” Both Treimer and Johnson agree that overnight road trips are an advantage for them because of the union it creates on the field.
“The only disadvantage is that guys miss class, but teachers are usually understanding about that,” Johnson noted.
Treimer mentioned that overnight road trips, although sometimes daunting and long, can be some of the best experiences a football team has.The most recent trip the Royals took to Buena Vista University consisted of a one-night stay at King’s Pointe Waterpark and Resort in Storm Lake, Iowa. Treimer and the rest of the team wasted no time upon arrival and jumped right in the pool for fun and games at the water park.
Much planning and funding goes into coordinating these trips. Johnson said that hotels are booked six months ahead of time to ensure the team has a place to stay for the best rate. Prior to hitting the road, the coaching staff picks up enough Subway sandwiches to feed 150 guys, and then at the halfway point the bus pulls into a rest stop for their meal.
“We just sit outside and eat on the pavement,”Coach Johnson said. “It’s moments like those where we create lasting memories.”
Team road trips also have lots of down time.
“We give our guys lots of freedom on road trips,” Johnson said. This means that the players are in charge of their own actions, bed time and waking up in the morning. According to Johnson, a mutual respect must be established among players and coaches; it’s the only way a team can function.
“The players police themselves; if a younger guy is acting out in a way that he shouldn’t, it’s expected that another teammate will call you out,” Johnson said.
The Royals will look to continue their success on the road as they travel to Moorhead, Minn. to face the Concordia University Cobbers on Oct. 12.