The Saint Mary football team opened the 2018 season in a big way. 

With memorials for fallen teammate Christian Yanos and under the lights of a Saturday night game, the Spires upset No. 18 Tabor College 13-10.

With the thrilling victory, the Spires look to continue the success as they travel to take on Ottawa University. The Braves enter Saturday’s game at 1-0 with a 42-12 victory over Bethel last weekend. 

Usually, a team coming off of an emotional victory can hinder the team in the follow-up, but Spires coach Jay Osborne thinks the victory is a good building block to start the year.

“Honestly, I cannot imagine a better outcome to build on this season,” Osborne said. “The Spires learned a lot about themselves during Saturday’s game. I believe the guys will keep riding high emotionally and stay up. We preach and live the ‘Yanos Way,’ which means that we will approach every day with a great big smile and positive mentality.”

The team will continue to honor the former Spire who died this spring throughout the season.

“We have a custom built wooden sign that reads ‘Yanos Strong’ and a flag that the players will run out on the field with every week,” Osborne said. “We also will be carrying his jersey with us to every game.”

The main focus at practice this week has been special teams and conditioning. The Spires have also worked to clean up offense issues from the first game. Osborne said he expects the team to play better as the season goes on. 

The special team focus by the Spires will also be one of the keys to the game.

“Playing well in close ball games requires a great effort in the kicking game,” Osborne said. “I believe this is where we can make a difference throughout the season.”

Kickoff between the Spires and Braves is scheduled for 6 p.m.