Beaver Football Seniors “Build the Dam” For Their Younger Teammates


Emily Kenny and Taiyler Schrank

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

-Vince Lombardi

Individual commitment has been the driving force of the Buena Vista University football team who was led by a large group of fifteen seniors who have committed years to this sport. The fifteen seniors include:

Nick Amundson, Spirit Lake, Iowa

Matthew Box, Huntsville, Texas

Zach Brandt, Johnston, Iowa

Brent Davis, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nolan Emley, Conrad, Iowa

Mason Frost, Boone, Iowa

Brady Illg, Spencer, Iowa

Tyler Kyhl, Slater, Iowa

TJ Lint, Ripey, Iowa

Tyler Oberreuter, Battle Creek, Iowa

Griffin Reding, Grinnell, Iowa

Mason Smith, Smithville, Iowa

Jake Staudt, Forest City, Iowa

Joe Thraen, Irwin, Iowa

Tyler Witzke, Arthur, Iowa

Head BVU football coach, Grant Mollring said that he shared a lot of laughs in the office and on the practice field with this group of guys. He looks forward to watching them succeed in their personal and professional lives when they leave the university. Mollring shared how the seniors’ leadership has impacted the team.

“These seniors have done a nice job during the transition of coaches and have led by example. Hopefully our younger players will learn from the effort these guys put forward this season as well as their professionalism and maturity when it came to dealing with the expectations of this program,” said Mollring.

The younger players have looked up to these seniors throughout the season, and share fond memories with each of them. Sophomore defensive lineman, Gary Weaver, talked highly of what he has learned from the seniors on the team.

“The seniors taught me to play for the team and to never give up on them. TJ and Brady have always had my back since I first came to BVU, I love them a lot. Honestly, the seniors’ leadership throughout the season has put a high standard for us young guys to give 100% effort every day,” said Weaver.

Freshman safety, Michael Herwig, noted the positive influence the seniors have had on his first college football season.

“One thing about these seniors is that they are all great dudes, [they] definitely have been a very positive influence on my life through the season. They have set a great standard for BVU football from here on out,” said Herwig.

Junior safety, Zach Anderson, shared a few memories he has had with the seniors.

“Griffin Reding and I, right after we stretch, we get up and we chest bump every time and it’s the last time we get to do it on the home field so that’s a big deal. Brady Illg is always talking on the field and being a leader out there but I have a memory with every senior,” said Anderson.

This week will be the Beavers’ final game of the season against Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Seniors Brady Illg, Joe Threan and Griffin Reding expressed their thoughts about their last game.

“There’s a lot of mixed emotions going into my final game. It’s a game that we all fell in love with when we were kids, and have been playing ever since we were old enough to. It’s going to be one of the hardest things ever to leave the field on Saturday, so right now I’m really focused on enjoying every second I have left,” says Reding.

“Going into the final game is really tough. As a team, we know what we have to do to win, we just have to execute consistently. We’re really looking to go out and play our best game of the year and end the right way,” says Illg. “My thoughts are consumed by how blessed I have been to be able to play this game for four more years. These last four years have been the most memorable of my life and I cannot thank my teammates, family and friends enough for everything they’ve done.”

Illg, Thraen and Reding, who all served as captains for the 2017 BVU football team also offered pieces of advice to their younger teammates:

“Don’t take anything for granted and take some time to reflect on how lucky we are. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or frustrated with the amount of time you need to put in to be successful, but I think we take for granted the little things along the way. Looking back at it, I got to wake up and workout with some of my best friends, I got to spend time with them at practice and all those little things that we tend to overlook.” Says Illg.

“Enjoy every single second of your career, because it’s gone in the blink of an eye. The memories I’ve made, and the lifelong friends that will stand with me on Saturday will be with me forever,” said Reding.

“Never take a moment for granted. Pain is temporary and chicks dig scars, so give all that you can. Don’t be left with ‘what ifs,” says Thraen.

After Saturday’s game, we spoke with seniors Nick Amundson and Tyler Oberreuter.

“It’s surreal, us seniors put a lot of work together. We love each other. The underclassmen play for us and there are big things to come in the next years at BV,” said Oberreuter.

“It’s honestly hard to watch all the seniors enjoy their last game while I sat out [for an injury] but it’s also good for them to have the support. They have four years of putting their blood, sweat and tears into this field,” said Amundson.

According to Coach Mollring and the others players on the team, the seniors have exhibited superior leadership skills throughout the season and will be missed come next fall. It is clear that this football team exudes BVU pride.

“The greatest thing I’ve ever been is a BV football player. Roll Beavs,” said Reding.