Taylor football earned their first home win and win of the 2020 spring season against Madonna University with a score of 45–0.
Turner Stadium’s turf was last played on nearly 16 months ago, and the Trojan squad certainly relished the opportunity to play in front of fans in attendance. Improving their record to 1–2, Taylor rebounded from losses to Marian and St. Francis.
While the Trojans did not possess any film on Madonna, a first-year football team, Coach Ron Korfmacher spoke to how they readied themselves.
“A big part of preparation is focusing on yourselves,” Korfmacher said. “Just reaching a standard of practice, a standard of execution, a standard of how you’re going to compete together as a team, regardless of opponent.”
Korfmacher said the initial stages of the game operated as “scout looks,” evaluating Madonna in-game and based on limited high school film.
Balance on offense, Korfmacher said, was one key adjustment his team made, aided by equal balance on the defensive side of the ball. Two takeaways were critical in the win over Madonna, but two other factors influenced the flow of the game.
“We had fewer quarterback runs this week,” Korfmacher said. “That was a plan, not to be as quarterback heavy, and frankly we had a couple snags health-wise. We weren’t certain what roster we were going into the game with, and it cleared up, (so) there was potential roster changes.”
Junior defensive back Major Dailey was a major contributor in the Trojan’s victory, coming down with a pair of interceptions, one being returned for a touchdown. Before this outstanding performance, Dailey recalled only having one previous career interception against Indiana Wesleyan University last season.
“I was just in the right place at the right time really,” Dailey said. “A couple mistakes from the quarterback that went my way. I was very grateful to come away with those two picks.”
Individual accolades aside, Dailey pinpointed how the Trojan defense was able to contain Madonna without him recording a single tackle.
“Our front seven guys did a very good job this week,” Dailey said. “The run was really stopped before it could get back to the secondary. … Jacob Hockett, a couple other guys did a really good job this week.”
Starting quarterback Zac Saltzgaber also posted a solid showing with 159 passing yards and a pair of touchdown throws. In light of the past two away losses and a match-up with 13th-ranked Concordia University coming up, Saltzgaber was very appreciative of this home win.
“Coming back and having such a big win, we needed it big time,” Saltzgaber said. “It’s a big confidence booster into the rest of the season.”
From a quarterback’s standpoint, Saltzgaber acknowledged what improvements he made in the win over Madonna.
“I think decision-making was ultimately one of the better things,” Saltzgaber said. “The first two games I tried to force a lot, especially later in the game when we were kind of feeling pressed to score.”
Relaxing and trusting in his teammates to perform took a lot of pressure off, Saltzgaber said. Wide receiver Evan Guckenberger exemplified this with a leaping touchdown catch late in the second quarter.
Korfmacher stated how his team can respond to this win moving forward in the seven-game season.
“Build on the positives, the best that came out of that game,” Korfmacher said. “The next game is a challenge, a hard-fought battle… yet we’re glad to be home again playing Concordia.”