Jul. 26—With just a little over a month away from the start of the season, Missouri Western was picked seventh in the MIAA Preseason Coaches and Media Polls for 2022.
After a 2-5 start in 2021, the Griffons ended the season strong by winning four of their final five games to finish 6-5. Head coach Matt Williamson enters his sixth season coaching the Griffons with a 26-20 overall record. While last season had its triumphs as well as its times of turbulence, Williamson sees a different team within his locker room.
"I would say, probably in the 26 years of me coaching we've probably got the best football team chemistry that I've ever seen," said Williamson during MIAA Football Media Day Tuesday. "You walk in there and it's like they've been friends forever. It's just a great environment in there, but they've got a chip on their shoulder; there's no question about that."
The Griffons return 19 of 22 starters from a year ago, including 2021 MIAA Freshman of the Year and team rushing leader Brandon Hall as well as quarterback Reagan Jones. They also return defensive anchors Arnold Crayton, D.J. Stirgus and Kobe Cummings. Stirgus was one of two players from Missouri Western who spoke during MIAA Football Media Day in Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday.
"Not really much you can really say because we didn't have a good season last year, so seventh place is kind of a given. We are going in there headstrong and we gotta execute," said Stirgus.
Cam Grandy was another player on hand at Media Day. The junior tight end missed all of last season due to injury. He returns to an offense that was ranked second in the conference in scoring at 34 points per game as well as sixth in total offense per game at 426 yards.
"Not being able to play last year is definitely tough, just standing on the sidelines watching my brothers go to war and not being able to be out there and help them get wins," said Grandy, "I've rehabbed, I've done a lot of work, I've been getting back in shape. This is probably the best shape I've ever been in. I'm just ready to get out there and play some college football.
The Griffons open up their season on Sept. 1 at home on a Thursday night against Central Oklahoma and new head coach Adam Dorrel.