SAU Buzz

SAU football tackles challenges to reach the top

by Logen Howell
Posted on Sep 13, 2019

The St. Ambrose University Fighting Bees look to improve after a winning season, but their chances are harder after an early cancellation. 

The Bees prepared to face Trinity Bible College on August 31 before news broke that they would have their second canceled game of the season. Also, earlier in the summer, the Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx canceled, which caused a scheduling conflict. The Bees were then set to play only nine games as opposed to their regular 10. 

They set a game with Trinity Bible College, but due to issues with fielding enough players, Trinity was forced to cancel. The Bees now look at a season that includes nine games and an unusual two bye weeks. 

All nine of the Bees' opponents are familiar from last season. The Bees won six of their 10 games last year, and now, they hope to improve that win total. 

The Bees have some new faces in key positions, but Coach Mike Magistrelli has faith in his team. 

"We are going to have to fill in some voids, but we have a great nucleus coming back of guys that have been able to get a season under their belts," Magistrelli said. 

One of those new faces is junior quarterback Dino Borelli. He has already made his name known to fans and coaches. 

Borelli had his first collegiate start at SAU last season and took full advantage of the opportunity. At the time, this sophomore quarterback aired it out against Trinity International by completing 24 of his 33 pass attempts. He ended with nearly 300 yards and five touchdown passes. This performance earned him the Mid-States Football Association Player of the Week. 

The Bees also are pleasantly surprised by junior defensive back Griffin Zajac, who made the National Association of Intercollegiate Athlete's preseason All-American team. Zajac is coming off a stellar season in which he led the team in interceptions and was second in tackles. 

"He is an outstanding football player, but he is an even better team leader, person and player to have in your program," Magistrelli said. 

Despite the challenges, the Bees are starting out on the road. Just like last season, the Bees will make road trips for four of their first five competitions. Early in the season, the Bees will play against Marion University, ranked number seven, and University of Saint Francis (Indiana), ranked number three, in hostile territory. The Bees will benefit from the home-field advantage when Saint Xavier University, ranked number five, comes to town. 

The Bees opened the season on September 7 in St. Louis against Missouri Baptist University.