The College’s loss Saturday to Kean University was not enough to stop the Lions from making it to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Lions’ strong play throughout the season made this year one of the best in the football team’s history, and a lot of the success can be attributed to the standout performances of key players including sophomore starting quarterback Chris James.
The second year player’s improvement in play was one of the main reasons the Lions were able to be such a powerhouse in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
“I think I’ve adjusted well with the change,” James said. “The only change is that I am the starting quarterback and not switching in. It gives me more power as a play-caller because I know the offense better.”
The improvements from last season to this season can be seen when the numbers are compared. Last year, James played in seven games and had a 37.4 completion percentage, four touchdowns and eight interceptions. This year, James completed 48.7 percent of his passes, and threw for 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
As much as the young quarterback has stepped up his level of play, he knows there is always room to improve.
“I want to cut down on the interceptions and my completion percentage to go up,” James said, “but the only thing that matters is the win. I could play my worst game of my life and if we win that is the only thing that matters.”
The Lions have racked up the wins behind their sophomore gunslinger, losing only two games and winning eight in a row, giving the College its highest winning percentage (.800) since the 1990 season.
James credits a lot of the team’s success to the coaching. He said going to the NCAA Division III Tournament “shows how well-coached we are and the character that this team has.”
“We win and we never overlook anyone,” he added.
James also spoke about how the offense is far from the only reason the Lions have been so successful this year.
“Our defense is one of the best in the country,” he said, “and special teams is a huge part of our success.”
While this season is almost at its end, James’ playing days are not. The sophomore still has two more years to play at the College. James plans on getting stronger, learning more about the offense and continuing to become more of a leader. With his strong performance this season, there is every reason to think James will continue to improve at the fast pace he has over the last two years.