For all the years he’s been a football coach, Mark Kornfeld knows only one way how to approach challenges and his opponents. It’s quite simple.
“I’m old school, I’ve always been the same. I’ve always been a week-to-week guy,” Kornfield said. “It’ll be the same process. I don’t know any other way to do it. It’s the same process that we’ve always done it and we got great kids, but we also have a great staff. I’m spoiled.”
The distinguished SLUH football coach has won 206 games and is going to be inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
If Kornfield claims to be spoiled then he may also be including some of his perks being the SLUH head football coach. His office is situated in Danis Field House overlooking one of the best basketball courts in the state, and has a vantage point to the beautiful SLUH athletic fields.
“Not bad. I can actually see out into the fields through the windows. Every time in the morning and the shades are down I always open the shades. I want to see outside.”
He’s unable to see the newly designed football field, which was renovated last winter. It now has college football turf with the Junior Billiken logo at the 50-yard line and the endzones painted royal blue as well as the sidelines.
“This is our second turf field. We had turf and the old one was ten years old or whatever. This last winter they got installed and our kids love it. It’s soft, it’s nice and then we got the nice sidelines that I like. We’re pretty excited to play on that field.”
Kornfeld and the rest of the team has reason to be amped up for their football season coming off a rejuvenated season and things are looking brighter coming into the new campaign.
“We’re really excited with all these kids coming back, we got some options.”
The Jr. Bills return seven starters on offense, including Tony Adams, who recently committed to the University of Illinois, and Andrew Clair, a Bowling Green commit.
“They’re special and they’re going to make plays. They did it last year, they’ve proven that they can play in big games.”
Clair rushed for 1303 yards with 19 touchdowns during the 2015 season and is among one of the best running backs in Missouri. The five-foot, nine inch running back runs a 4.50 40-yard and will surely be a pest to defenses all season long. Then there’s Adams (6’0”, 184 lbs), a game-breaking wide receiver, who also runs a 4.50 40-yard dash. The Illini commit caught 26 passses for 609 yards with six touchdowns last season.
SLUH returns three-year starter, Mitchell Batschelett, who threw for 1,985 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. The pro-style quarterback options will include Adams, Brent Smith, BJ Wilson, Maurice Glass, and Jared Scott.
“We’re really excited with all these kids coming back, we got some options. We got some special kids and younger kids that couldn’t get on the field last year because of those seniors, they deserve their chance and they’re going to shine, there’s no doubt about it.”
Returning on defense is Davion Nash and Jared Scott at linebacker, Ryan Hebenstreit and Kameron Bowdry on the defensive line, and strong safety, Jared Scott.
The Jr. Bills finished with a record of 8-3 and 2-2 in the loaded Metro Catholic Conference. They will be on a game-by-game mentality, but will be looking to improve upon their MCC record when they know the out-in-out difficulties.
“The MCC has been tough for a lot of years. People say SLUH hasn’t beaten CBC in a long time, well, nor has anyone else. They’re always so good year in and year out. Chaminade went to the state championship and they have all their kids back. They’re going to be special. Our non-conference schedule is as tough as anybodies because there’s no gimmies. That’s why I’m a week-to-week guy.”
Like always, this will be a battle-tested SLUH team and the players will have a chip on their shoulders by trying to prove to the likes of CBC and Chaminade that they have something to bring to the party. They’ll also be playing for Kornfeld by wanting to send him off with something special. The Jr. Bills certainly have the offense to play with just about anyone with two D1 commits and a prospect in Batschelett. Most likely several of the new starters and reserves will improve or feel more comfortable as the season progresses. For their non-conference schedule, SLUH will be favored going into each game and as for the MCC, 2-2 is a conservative estimate, but it won’t be total surprise if they can knick CBC or Chaminade. Their regular season will prime them well for the Missouri Class 6 playoff gauntlet.