Student organization keeps football players united off the field

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TV2 KSU football reporter Jon Jankowski previews the Kent State Miami Homecoming football game.

Contact Jon Jankowski at [email protected] and @JonJankowski.

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At the beginning of the year, senior running back Jacquise Terry and junior wide receiver Tyshon Goode said the new coaching change brought the team closer together than ever before.

Now, after a 1-5 start, junior defensive back Darius Polk said nothing has changed. The team is still just as close and some are finding off-the-field activities to participate in together.

One of the activities many of the football players attend together is Fellowship of Christian Athletes. This organization meets on Tuesday nights and is open to anyone, but especially to Kent State athletes. Junior linebacker C.J. Malauulu, who began attending Kent State this year, said about eight to 12 players attend on a good night.

He said freshman defensive end Nate Vance first invited him and it was just what Malauulu was looking for.

“I attend church every Sunday when I’m back home,” Malauulu said. “Football changes everything. It’s a job. Twenty-four-seven we’re doing something. With school, meetings and lifting, it’s hard to find a time to squeeze (faith) in.”

Malauulu said meeting Tuesday nights at a time when the team will always be back from an away game and late enough it does not interfere with class or practice is what makes this organization so great.

Polk, who has attended the organization’s weekly meetings for two years now, said it definitely brings those who attend closer.

“FCA definitely does help you learn about people and how they really think personality wise,” Polk said. “We sit in there and talk and talk about it in the locker room. Me and my brother Norman Wolfe talk about what we talked about in Bible study all the time, but we always try and get more guys to come.”

However, every athlete and head coach Darrell Hazell made it clear they do not force religion on anyone. Hazell made it clear going to this organization is completely voluntary on the players’ part.

Homecoming game

KENT STATE (1-5, 0-2 MAC) vs. MIAMI (1-4, 0-1 MAC)

Where: Dix Stadium

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Admission: FREE

Hazell did say that he likes it when a group of his players find an activity to participate in together off the football field.

“I think it definitely gives the guys something to fall back to and something for the guys to relate to,” Hazell said.

Hazell said he tries to offer similar activities like Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the team. For instance, when the team is on the road, Hazell allows a senior to give a Biblical message to anyone wishing to attend and listen.

Polk said he is more relaxed and overall feels better after attending something like Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“You feel more relieved,” Polk said. “I try and go every Tuesday because it really helps me get through my week.”

Fellowship of Christian Athletes is just one of the tools that keeps this football team united.

Contact AJ Atkinson at [email protected] and @aj_atkinson.