Sunday, March 2, 2014

Craig Needhammer Leading the Pack of Talent for the 2014 Football Season

#23 Craig Needhammer (Click to enlarge)
"You can't find a nicer young man with such a competitive edge on the football field. - John Green"
Williamsport, PA -  Craig Needhammer had a fantastic year as the star running back for the Lycoming College Warriors in 2013. This humble senior from Lansdale, PA posted some amazing statistics and helped the Warriors win their 15th MAC Championship. Let's look at some of the highlights from last year.

Needhammer, a First Team All-MAC running back finished third in the MAC, averaging 118.4 yards per game, and he tied the school record with 14 touchdowns scored. He also averaged 153.9 all-purpose yards per game and ran for 100 yards seven times (in just 10 games), one less than the school record of eight, set by Brian Thompson over a 13-game campaign en route to the national championship game in 1997. The physics major has earned two MAC Academic Honor Roll selections and made an appearance on the Academic All-MAC team in 2013.

Some have questioned the durability of this undersized running back. He is listed at 5'7" and 178 pounds in the Warrior press guide. He has speed and can split the defensive player swho attempt to corner him for a tackle. He is not afraid to hurdle big defensive players and give them a punishing stiff arm to gain extra yardage. And he has only lost 51 yards all year, that just 5 yards per game on average. He is surely one of the greats to be behind the quarterback all time and with another year of play for the Warriors.

Where Craig also shines is setting up winning plays. Take for example the Albright OT win (20-17) at Lycoming College's homecoming game on October 26th. He did not score the winning touchdown against Albright, but he was a key in the victory. He had one touchdown in the first half of play, was over 100 yards rushing again and rushed three times for a crucial first down to give Sr kicker Zack Czap an easier (into a brisk cross winded) kick for the OT victory, Mike Clark's first OT game and win at Lycoming.

Flashback to October 5th against Delaware Valley. Craig completed his 4th 100 plus yard game which is pretty good, but two of the teams were ranked in the top 25 by Widener was ranked 24th in the nation and DelVal was ranked 14th in the nation. Humble, powerful, strong, durable and elusive are just a few adjectives describing this the talented Warrior running back.

These are just a couple of examples of what Craig brings to offense of Lycoming.

So we are into year 2014 and the Lycoming Football players are surely getting physically prepared for another great season start in September against the Susquehanna Crusaders. From my viewpoint on this snowy perch in Williamsport, the real goal this year is to get this team to believe that they are the team to beat for their 16th MAC Championship. Lycoming has lost some great play makers with the graduation of the senior MAC Champions in 2013, but there are so many talented Warriors with the desire to give it their all. This even when other MAC team players and fans will question whether Lycoming has what it takes to repeat. Just look to some of Lyco's players for examples to prove them wrong. Many felt RB Craig Needhammer could not be a feature running back in DIII football. But guess what, no one told Craig and if they did, he wasn't listening. He has been the gutsy player who just goes out and proves them wrong where it counts, on the gridiron.

John Green