By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Chris Loch has no problem with being one of the oldsters on the Joplin Crusaders.
“I believe I’m the oldest in terms of playing time,” Loch said Friday. “I began playing in 2004 when our games were held at Galena (Kan.) High School.”
Loch welcomed playing at Abbey Field. He graduated from Galena in 1997 before earning a couple of letters at Pittsburg State University.
Loch, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound left tackle for the non-pro Crusaders, offered several reasons why he continues playing football. It isn’t money, of course.
Loch didn’t mention winning, either. But the 14-year-old Crusaders have been very successful and are 7-0 and regular-season Central Football League champions entering today’s 7 p.m. nonconference game against the Nebraska Renegades at Missouri Southern State University.
The Lincoln based-Renegades, a replacement for the Oklahoma Braves, are members of the Midwest Football Alliance. They’ve opened the season with a 32-18 road win. It’s the final game of the regular season for the Crusaders.
Said Loch: “I like the game of football. It gives me something to do. It keeps me in shape (this reason was accompanied by a Loch chuckle). You make friends. Seriously, we’re pretty much like a family.
“We’re a team,” Loch said. “We aren’t a bunch of individuals.”
Chris, who’s married to the former Jodi Cain of Willard (Mo.), said he basically looks at this team as just another in a line of outstanding ballclubs.
“If we are better, it’s because we have more young talent,” Loch said. “We have more speed in certain places. We probably have more depth.
“We had a slow start on offense,” Loch said. “But we’ve continued to learn and improve. Our defense has been strong all season.”
Loch’s uniform number? No. 73. Just like his days as a Galena Bulldog.
Notes: Tonight’s game is billed as the Unity Cup Bowl with the winner lugging away the cup. ... Admission is $8 with proceeds going to Child Abuse Awareness. ... Crusader officials are giving season passes to boys and girls through 16 for this game and the playoffs. The CFL regular-season crown netted home field throughout the playoffs. ... Gates open at 6 p.m. at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.