GALESBURG, Illinois - Aaron Willits '08 begins his second season as Head Football Coach at Knox College in 2022. Taking over the program in February of 2021, Willits led the Prairie Fire to a 3-6 record in his first year at the helm. After an 0-3 start, the team reeled off three victories in their next four games. After a close 35-34 loss to Cornell, Knox fell to Monmouth in the final game of the season. The team has been on campus practicing since August 12 and will look to improve after their first full year under Willits.
The team returns all three of their All-Midwest Conference performers from last season. Creed Justice was a second-team selection at Offensive Line. Justice, a junior guard, helped anchor an offensive line that compiled over 2000 yards rushing and 26 rushing touchdowns. Ean Rau was a second-team selection at Linebacker. Rau, a fifth-year senior, led the Prairie Fire Defense with 68 total tackles including 2.0 tackles for loss. Rau added two interceptions which included a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown. Davis Brumbaugh was a second-team selection as a Special Teams Player. Brumbaugh, a senior linebacker, accumulated 36 total tackles on the season, while contributing on every special teams unit for the Prairie Fire. Charlie Gibbons, who was an all-conference player in 2019, also returns to the fold after an injury forced him to sit out last year. Gibbons, a fifth-year senior offensive lineman, will add to an already strong offensive line and should help the Prairie Fire’s offense reach new heights.
The Prairie Fire also return leading rusher Kaile Williams, who ran for 703 yards and 12 touchdowns from the quarterback position. The senior signal caller also passed for 718 yards and six touchdowns. Junior running back Hunter Anderson also ran for 533 yards and six touchdowns as well as hauling in 10 catches for 109 yards and a score. Senior Trevor Geggie also ran for 164 yards and grabbed 12 receptions for 149 yards and four total touchdowns.
The Knox defense returns their top eight tacklers from last season, led by Rau. Fifth-year senior defensive lineman Lucas Cruz racked up 47 tackles and senior defensive back Kendall Ballman tallied 44 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. Junior linebacker Anthony Garcia earned 43 tackles, including three sacks. Senior defensive lineman Caleb Spinks picked up 37 tackles, four sacks, and three forced fumbles.