By Anthony Caruso
The College’s football team has been preparing for their upcoming season, begins away from home on Saturday, Sept 5 against Christopher Newport University, hoping to get rid of the memory of the 2-8 record from last season.
Christopher Newport is a new team within the New Jersey Athletic Conference, along with Salisbury University, Wesley College and Frostburg State University. Of these new teams, Salisbury and powerhouse Wesley are the only ones coming to campus. Both will visit in back-to-back weekends, as Salisbury comes to Lions Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 3, then Wesley comes the following weekend.
In total, there are going to be six home games this year. Following the Christopher Newport road trip, they won’t return to the road again until Saturday, Oct. 17, for Frostburg State in Frostburg, Md. The team will also go road tripping on Halloween to William Paterson and to end the season on Friday, Nov. 13, at Rowan University.
All of the team’s games will be a noon kickoff except homecoming, which will start at 1 p.m. against Montclair State University on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The Lions are hoping to improve their offensive efforts this year – since in 2014 they averaged 10.5 points a game, while the opponent averaged 27.4.
The team is also hoping to improve their record, especially at home. Last year, the team’s only home win came on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, against Kean University by a score of 20 to 10.
With sophomore Trevor Olser at quarterback, the team has a bright future. He will be joined in the backfield by sophomore Khani Glover who led the team in rushing. Glover had 107 attempts for 407 yards and also had five touchdowns.
Many of the team’s receivers are returning, as well. Seniors Conor Mulholland, Nick Craig, Kyle Anderson and Andrew Lachawiec; junior Jeff Mattonelli and sophomore Gabriel Rios are back at the helm and will give Osler numerous opportunities to move the ball.
Mattonelli led the team with 35 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns and Mulholland added 23 for 220 yards and a touchdown. Craig contributed 13 for 145, while Lachawiec had 11 for 158.
The defensive unit is going to be strong once again. Senior Sean Kley is the leading tackler returning, as he had 81 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, a sack, an interception, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery last season.
Other key returning players include seniors Zack Vasilenko, Jeffrey Skomsky and Martin Flately and junior Abdelrahman Ragab. All of– these returning players were in the top six of defensive stats last season.
Vaselinko had 71 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for a loss, an interception, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry, while Skomsky, who only appeared in seven games, added 51 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. Flately added 50 tackles, a tackle for a loss, an interception and a fumble recovery and Ragab contributed 31 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss.
As the team continues its camp leading up to the new season, they are looking forward to the upcoming competition.