Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lycoming Football - Workload a concern this year for Needhammer as Lyco opens today

A WOLnews photo by John Green
By Mitch Rupert
Craig Needhammer felt fine after nine games. More than 20 carries a game a year ago weren't that bad to manage physically for the Lycoming running back.
After 10 weeks, though?
"After Stevenson was a bit of a struggle," Needhammer said at the Warriors' annual media day a week ago.
Stevenson was rough for the 5-foot-8, 180-pound featured back. His 41 carries were the second-most ever in a game by a Lycoming running back. It pushed his season total to 245 carries in just 10 games, the second-most ever in a single season at Lycoming, only eight behind Brian Thompson's 1997 total from 13 games.

It was a heavy workload kind of year for Needhammer. But it was the kind of workload head coach Mike Clark doesn't want to see a repeat of. At least not in 10 games, as Lycoming opens the season this afternoon vs. Susquehanna. Kickoff at Person Field is at 1.
"If he has 240 carries this year, I would hope it's through 12 or 13 games, and not 10," Clark said. "Blake Bowman has proven to be a really good player. Maybe he's not as explosive as Craig, but he's very capable. We have to get him the ball."
Needhammer had been a part-time player in his first two seasons with the Warriors, playing the 1A running back role behind primary starter Parker Showers. A year ago, he became the featured back with Bowman, a true freshman at the time, as his back-up.
The North Penn (Lansdale) graduate wanted the football in the season's key moments. And despite his size, Needhammer was as durable a player as the Warriors had in a year it constantly battled injuries.
Clark trusted Needhammer enough to give him 41 carries (for 162 yards) in a season-closing win at Stevenson which helped capture a share of the MAC championship for the Warriors. The first-team all-MAC running back used that final game to post the fifth-best rushing season in school history at just shy of 1,200 yards. And now, as a senior, Needhammer is again the featured back and he's going to spend 10 regular season games making an assault on the Lycoming record book.

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