In disappointingly similar fashion to 2008, the Lions ended their season with a decisive loss to New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival Rowan University, falling hard to the Profs 0-39 on the road last Saturday.
The Lions’ fourth consecutive loss set them with a final record of 4-6, leaving them tied with The College at Brockport for sixth in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
“The positive we take away is we kept battling even after all we have been through,” head coach Eric Hamilton said. “10 NJAC teams is a battle of survival and attrition and early on we were able to hang in there. As the season went along, competition became stiffer and our depth dwindled. What we took away was the need to develop mental toughness during the offseason so it carries over into 2010.”
Although the Lions may have developed mental toughness, they were no match for the physical Profs who gained 541 yards on offense, improving their record to 7-3.
Senior quarterback Frank Wilczynski led the charge against the Lions, gaining 140 rushing yards and three touchdowns, in addition to 238 yards passing with two more trips to the end zone.
In his second start of the season, sophomore quarterback James Donoghue did not fare as well, as he completed only three passes on 13 attempts and was sacked four times.
Hamilton was impressed by the Profs’ ability to keep the Lions in check.
“Rowan’s defense was very good as was Montclair and Kean,” he said. “The NJAC is a tough physical league and numbers and depth are keys to success.”
The Lions did not have depth either in their final contest of the season as senior quarterback Chris James, as well as leading rushers sophomore Justin Doniloski and Chase Misuira were sidelined with injuries.
“Missing those three didn’t help, but I’m not sure how much of a difference since they were not the only ones, Hamilton said. We would have liked to play (Rowan) earlier in the year.”
The Profs were in mid-season form against the Lions, as the allowed only 52 total yards on offense including a pathetic -14-yard rushing performance.
“Rowan controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage,” Hamilton said. “They were more physical and had depth. We couldn’t run the ball or give our quarterback a chance to throw on offense and couldn’t contain their quarterback. (Rowan) had a couple big plays that hurt including a blocked punt.”
Although the Lions finished the season on a sour note, the team still has many highlights to reflect on, including breaking the all-time single-game and season scoring records previously held in 1921 and 1989, respectively. James also broke the College’s all-time passing yardage, completion and attempt totals to finish his campaign as a Lion.