McNeese football seniors prepare for final game at Cowboy Stadium

Published: Nov. 10, 2023 at 7:03 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It has been a difficult past couple of years for McNeese football, both on the field and off of it dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, COVID-19, multiple coaching changes, losing seasons, and much more. Many players would choose to transfer, and start fresh with a new school, but that was not the case for Cowboys redshirt seniors Brayden Adams and Trey Vondenstein.

“I’ve been through four staffs, the hurricane, COVID, and everything else, but this school has taught me everything I need to set me up for the future. I’ve learned how to handle adversity and enjoy the little things, and how to make the best out of some not-so-good situations. I’m just happy and blessed, I never thought I’d play a snap of college football, let alone six years, so it truly is a blessing,” said Vondenstein.

For Brayden Adams, a native of Lake Charles who graduated from Barbe High School, wearing the royal blue and sunflower gold was always a dream, and the ability to do just that for five years is something he’ll always cherish.

“Being from Lake Charles and growing up coming to McNeese games, it was always my dream to play for the Cowboys and get this opportunity. I’ve been here for five or so years now, and it’s been a blessing, and I couldn’t ask for more than the experience that I’ve had,” said Adams.

Unlike Adams, Lake Charles was not home for Trey Vondenstein, but it quickly became home during his first year with the Cowboys.

“My freshman year, my mom had gotten extremely sick, and they weren’t sure if she was going to make it, and that was probably the first game of my entire life that my parents couldn’t make it to,” Vonderstein said. “I was the backup long snapper, I was a walk-on, and nobody knew me, but my parents texted in one of those Facebook group messages, and sure enough after the game I go up on top of the stairs right here and I had people shaking my hand, hugging me, taking pictures with me, and giving me updates about my mom. For me, especially coming right out of high school, it felt like I had a whole group of arms around me at a time when I really needed it.”

For McNeese Head Coach Gary Goff, who has been in Lake Charles for just two years, Adams and Vondenstein are players he leaned on as leaders to teach the underclassmen what it meant to be a Cowboy, so for Goff, senior night on Saturday is going to be special for him as well.

“These seniors have been through a lot, a lot of them have weathered several storms here, both literally and figuratively, and all of them are going to be very successful in their careers, and model citizens. I’m extremely proud of them for seeing all of this through, and the only thing I wish was that we could have them back so they could see this through, and see the benefits of the rebuilding process. I really hope we go out there and play great for them on Saturday night and they get one final victory in the hole in their final game in the hole,” said Goff.

Saturday’s home finale kicks off at 7 p.m. against Houston Christian at Cowboy Stadium.