The Kenyon Lords football team returns to action on September 7 against The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The Lords enter the season with a sense of confidence that has been absent in recent years. While the Lords have lost their last 26 games, including two winless seasons in a row, they now sport a new head coach, a quarterback who holds the campus records for career passing yards. Additionally, 22 new first years are prepared to learn from the veterans.
The Lords’ new head coach, James Rosenbury II, was most recently the offensive line coach, special teams coordinator and director of football and recruiting operations for fellow National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III school Macalester College (Mn.).
Aside from player and team development, Rosenbury hopes to also focus on another aspect of the game: building a positive team culture.
“For us, it’s been this mentality of ‘Next One Wins.’ Doing your very best at every opportunity—not just on the football field, but in the classroom and in their social lives. Just having great experiences across campus in everything they do,” Rosenbury said. “We’ve really emphasized this, and made sure that [when] something good happens, great, next one wins. Something bad happens? Even better; next one wins, let’s learn from our mistakes and fail forward next time.”
The Lords also are looking forward to the return of starting quarterback Thomas Merkle ’20 for his senior season. Merkle is statistically the most decorated quarterback in Kenyon football history, holding the records for most passing yards in a career (8,248) and pass completions (850), and is only four attempts away from the record of 1,439 passing attempts (he is currently at 1,435). If Merkle gets over 2843 passing yards this season, he will finish his career with the top three single-seasons in Kenyon history. Merkle finished the 2018 season with 12 passing touchdowns and 2,398 yards.
Regardless of the outcome of the 2019 season, Rosenbury has high hopes for the long-term future of the Kenyon football program.
‘The sky’s the limit for Kenyon football,” Rosenbury said. “As long as every year we are maximizing our team potential, to me, that’s success.”