Highlights for this year’s Peru State football team included a 2-3 finish in the Northern Division of the Heart of America Conference and victories in two of the final three contests on the schedule.
Overall, the Bobcats finished 2-9, compared to a 3-8 record in 2018.

Peru State's 11-game schedule was against foes in one of the best football conferences in the NAIA. Four of the conference schools were listed in the final regular season NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll. Grand View (Iowa), the North Division champ, was fourth with Baker (Kan.), South Division winner, finishing 15th. Those two teams competed in the post-season playoffs. Baker was ousted in the first round with Grand View losing in the semifinals.
Also ranked were Benedictine (Kan.) at 18th and Evangel (Mo.) at 21st. In addition, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) was receiving votes. The final poll will be released on Dec. 27.
The Bobcats dropped their first eight contests in a row. They were competetive in five of the eight contests, but could not capture a win. Peru State would capture their first win of the season on the road over William Penn in Oskaloosa, Iowa, 30-13.
After dropping a road contest to Grand View, the 'Cats would win their Senior Day game over Graceland (Iowa) 34-3.
Six Bobcats received Heart recognition in the North Division. Selected as part of the second team were seniors Victor Hubbard (Corinth, Texas) and Jordan Willis (Denver), along with junior Travis Reed (Hickman). Hubbard earned his second-straight second team honor as a defensive back. The 6-1, 180-pound defensive back, had 24 total tackles – 17 of which were unassisted. In addition, he grabbed three interceptions, deflected nine passes, and blocked five kicks. Willis was an honorable mention pick last season. This season, the 6-4, 222-pound defensive lineman had 40 total tackles – 21 solo. He added nine tackles for losses of 46.5 yards and had one sack for a loss of 22 yards. The leading tackler on the team, Reed, a 6-2, 198-pound linebacker, finished the season with 82 total tackles – 40 of them being unassisted. Reed added five tackles for losses of 20.3 yards and had one sack for nine yards of loss. He finished the season with three interceptions, seven pass deflections, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Seniors Luis Constantino (Varzea Grande, Brazil) and Mardarius Adams (Lakeland, Fla.) earned honorable mention as did sophomore Jackson Gilbert (Omaha). Constantino earned honorable mention honors as a junior as well.
The complete list of list of team rankings in the NAIA as of this release date (Dec. 18) are as follows:
15th in Pass Defense per Game (168.700)
15th in Pat Kicking (0.955)
23rd in Sacks Against (1.500)
25th in Opp 3rd Down Conv. (32.000)
25th in Opp 4th Down Conv. (38.700)
29th in Pass Def Efficiency (113.900)
31st in Total Sacks Against (17.000)
34th in Penalty Yds per Game (69.700)
36th in 4th Down Conv. (44.400)
42nd in Total Defense per Game (350.600)
45th in Total Rushing Offense (1557)
Only four Bobcats are presently listed in individual NAIA Top 50 rankings. John Brady (Hickman) is 25th in PAT kicking percentage (0.955), 41st in field goals made per game (0.500), 50th in punt yards per game (35.5), and 50th in total field goals (5). Mitchel Orr (Smithville, Mo.) is 27th in total kickoff return yards (448). Willis is 33rd in fumbles forced per game (0.200). Hubbard is 45th in passes defended per game (1.000).
Brady was twice named as the Heart Special Teams Player of the Week. Tylor Watts (Ridgecrest, Calif.) was named Heart Offensive Player of the Week following his senior day performance.
Three Bobcats were initially selected to play in the first NAIA Senior Football Classic which was held Dec. 14 in Savannah, Georgia. Adams, Hubbard, and Constantino were the three initially selected and were later joined by Willis. Following the game, Willis as named as the Defensive Player of the Game. Peru State assistant coach Justin Hoffman was one of the coaches for the contest.
The NAIA has made a change in recognizing their Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athletes. The recognition will come at the end of the academic year. It is anticipated that ten Bobcat football players could be recognized. They include Keegan Case (Omaha), Constantino, Dylan Dittman (Omaha), Noah Kasbohm (Nebraska City), Nick Novak (Dawson), Orr, Justin Pool (Circleville, Kan.), Reed, Brady Stephens (Council Bluffs, Iowa), and Watts.
Pool, Novak, and Reed were all named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 3 Football Team. Later, Novak was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America NAIA Football Team – the highest academic honor an NAIA football player can receive.
The Bobcats appear to lose 16 off the 2019 squad who are either graduating or have used their eligibility. Those recognized on Senior Day were Michael Bullard (Bahamas), Kasbohm, Hubbard, Adams, Willis, Dwight Butler (Bahamas), Pool, Orr, Constantino, Robert Tillman (Detroit), Robbie Sturdivant (North Platte), Watts, Jake Hausmann (Papillion), Cameron Schlender (Kearney), Dominic Montero (Tamaqua, Pa.), and Austin Rosas (Bellingham, Wash.).
In addition, eight-year head coach Steve Schneider announced his retirement at the annual football booster club banquet in early December. A search for a new head coach is underwary.
With several returners at key positions and a host of recruits soon to be joining the program, Peru State will look to improve and have a better outcome in the 2020 season.