Thursday, September 12, 2013

MAC Football: Wilkes game notes vs Lycoming Saturday

Wilkes Colonels (1-0) vs. Lycoming Warriors (0-1)
Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.
David Person Field

Wilkes University opens its 2013 Middle Atlantic Conference slate at Lycoming College at David Person Field Saturday in Williamsport, Pa.

Colonels coach Frank Sheptock (Bloomsburg ‘85) enters his 18th year on the Wilkes sideline, racking up a 104-75 (.581) record. With the 104 victories, Sheptock is the all-time winningest coach in school history, passing Colonel legend Rollie Schmidt’s (1962-1981) 90 wins two seasons ago. Sheptock has led the Colonels to two NCAA and seven ECAC playoff berths during his tenure, along with a MAC championship (2006). Wilkes made the NCAA playoffs in 2005 and 2006, going 19-4 overall, including a 42-0 win over Washington & Lee in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Since 1996, Sheptock has coached 12 All-Americans and 133 All-MAC performers.

 Warriors mentor Mike Clark (Lycoming ‘93) enters his sixth season in 2013 with an overall mark of 33-18 (.647). Clark, a former offensive linemen for Lycoming, has been a part of 92 wins, seven MAC titles, seven NCAA playoff teams and six NCAA playoff wins as a Warrior. During his time as head coach, Clark has tutored 49 all-conference selections, 12 all-region selections, five All-Americans, an Academic All-American and led the team to four wins over top-25 programs. In 2012, Clark led the team to an 8-2 overall record and an 8-1 conference mark to finish second in the Middle Atlantic Conference.

This will be the 54th meeting between the two schools as Lycoming holds a 36-17 series advantage. Last season, the Warriors upended Wilkes 38-7 in Edwardsville. Coach Sheptock is 9-8 when matched against Lycoming in his career.

The Colonels will host defending MAC champion Widener University Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Schmidt Stadium. Wilkes will look to revenge a tough loss in Chester, Pa. last season.

Wilkes will be looking for win number 300 in the program’s 68 years of existence. The Colonels currently boast a 299-299-8 (.500) overall mark heading into today’s contest with Lycoming.

Going into today’s game against Lycoming, Sheptock’s 104 wins stands as the school’s all-time leader. Sheptock’s 104 career wins has been built up over 17 seasons of work and includes a program-record 11 wins in 2006. He reached the 100-win plateau last season in a 37-27 victory against FDU-Florham on September 29. In 179 career games, Sheptock has a winning percentage of .581.

The MAC preseason coaches poll was released on August 7 as Wilkes was picked to finish sixth. Lycoming College was picked first, receiving four first place votes, while defending MAC champion Widener came in second with two first place votes.

1. Lycoming (4)
2. Widener (2)
3. Delaware Valley (2)
4. Albright
5. Lebanon Valley
6. Wilkes
7. Stevenson
8. FDU-Florham
9. King’s
10. Misericordia

• Wilkes is 3-2 in the first road contest of the year over the past five seasons.

• After a 103-yard performance through the air last Saturday, quarterback Tyler Berntsen needs 165 more yards to reach 2,500 for his career.

• Sophomore running back Patrick Ingulli ran for 57 yards in the game against Morrisville bringing his career total to 676 yards, just 324 shy of 1,000 for his career in just 11 games (61.4 yards per-game).

• Senior All-MAC linebacker Tate Moore-Jacobs was all over the field last Saturday finishing with a game-high 14 tackles. Moore-Jacobs currently has 359 career tackles, 41 short of 400 for his four-year stint in the Navy and Gold. Moore-Jacobs has reached double-digit tackles in 24 of 31 career games.

• Wilkes continued to show why it’s regarded as one of the top rushing programs in all of Division III college football rushing for 263 yards and five touchdowns as a team in the season opening win against Morrisville State.

• Paul Martin led the Colonel rushing attack with 78 yards and three touchdowns, the first three scores of his college career. Martin scored all three touchdowns from short-yardage situation where the Colonels controlled the line of scrimmage going in from four yards, one yard, and two yards out.

• Quarterback Tyler Berntsen was cool under pressure in his first outing under center passing for 103 yards and one score while running for 65 more yards and one touchdown. The passing score came on a play-action pass where the senior signal-caller found tight end Drew Devitt wide open down the right side of the field for the 47-yard touchdown.

• The Wilkes defense was at its best when it counted most in the win over Morrisville holding the Mustangs to two field goal attempts when backed into its own territory. It held for a Mustang field goal on the games’ opening drive, then later before the half limiting Morrisville to just the three points.

• The run defense was stout all game limiting Morrisville to just 88 total yards on the ground. It marked the first time a Wilkes defense held an opponent under 100 yards since losing to Albright last season on September 15 (91 total yards allowed).

• The defense provided a pair of big plays late in the win against Morrisville causing two turnovers to seal the non-conference victory. Senior defensive end Rob Houseknecht sacked the Mustang quarterback causing a fumble that was recovered by Wilkes. On the next Morrisville possession, senior linebacker DJ Shuttleworth intercepted a pass to give the ball back to Wilkes to ice the clock.

• The Wilkes secondary is much improved from a season ago and it showed in the opener. Junior safety Dylan Mohring finished with a career-high 11 tackles and several big hits while fellow juniors corner Matt Briskie (six tackles/one pass breakup) and corner Omar Richardson (three tackles/one interception) played extremely well in their first action of 2013.

• Lycoming has always featured tough physical running backs and this year seems to be no different. Junior Craig Needhammer started the year strong rushing for 86 yards on 12 carries against Brockport.

• Junior quarterback Tyler Jenny struggled in the season opener at Brockport finishing 18-of-37 passing with a career-high two interceptions. Wilkes looks to keep Jenny at bay throughout as the junior signal-caller has had his way with the Colonels in previous games. He threw for 239 yards on 17-of-26 passing and three scores in the 38-7 win last year in Edwardsville, Pa.

• Jenny’s top target on the outside looks to be senior Matt Atkinson. Atkinson posted a team-high nine receptions for 79 yards at Brockport last week.

• Picked as the preseason favorite to win the MAC this year, the league’s vote most likely came because of the Warriors expected defense in 2013 returning eight starters.

• Lycoming was missing three starters off its defensive unit in the opener at Brockport, but all three will likely return against Wilkes this week, including 2012 MAC Defensive Player of the Year Kabongo Bukasa.

• Senior Tyler Denike recorded a team-high 11 tackles and Tanner Troutman and Mike Ciotti each added interceptions last week.