Friday, September 2, 2016

Football - Lycoming vs. Susquehanna Game Preview

A File Photo
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - It will be a little bit of old and a whole lot of new when the Lycoming College football team opens its 2016 season against Susquehanna University in the Stagg Hat Trophy game at David Person Field today.

The Warriors, who finished 4-6 overall in 2015, feature a roster filled with 85 underclassmen, although 15 starters return from the 2015 club, including the Middle Atlantic Conference's leading rusher, senior Blake Bowman, and the league's leader in pass efficiency, senior Chase Whiteman.

The newly-minted River Hawks enjoyed a 5-5 season in 2015, led by the play of junior wide receiver Diamente Holloway, who had 59 catches for 872 yards and five touchdowns.

Warrior Notes
• The Warriors have won 13 of the last 16 games against Susquehanna, including the last five in Williamsport.

• Senior Chase Whiteman became the first player in program history to throw for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games in the last two weeks of the 2015 season.

• Senior Blake Bowman needs to score one more rushing touchdown to become the ninth player in school history to post 20 in a career.

• Junior Mike Ward led the Warriors with 69 tackles, four interceptions and 13 passes defended in 2015.

• Senior Jon Rummel needs 1.5 more tackles for loss to reach 10 in his career.

• In the final two weeks of the 2015 season, the Warrior offense averaged 516.5 yards of total offense and 40.5 points per game.

The Bowman Watch
As has seemingly been custom for running backs in the Mike Clark era, senior Blake Bowman enters his senior year looking to leave a large impact on the college's record book. Some milestones that Bowman, who set a school single-season record with 18 rushing touchdowns is approaching include:
- 76 rushing yards from becoming 12th running back in school history to reach 1,750 in a career
- 1 touchdown from becoming ninth player in school history to rush for 20 in a career
- 1 100-yard rushing game from tying Jared Morris for ninth in school history
- 55 all-purpose yards from passing John Grier (1955-58, 2,117) for 16th in school history
- 18 points away from tying Larry Barretta (1983-86) with 144 career points scored
- 3 touchdowns from tying Barretta for 10th in school history with 24 touchdowns scored

Whiteman finds his stride
Senior quarterback Chase Whiteman ended his junior season with the Warriors by doing something that no other quarterback in program history had done. The 6-1 Gettysburg, Pa., native tossed for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games, as he threw for 372 yards against Delaware Valley on Nov. 7 before tossing for 318 against Misericordia. Whiteman finished his first year as a Warrior starter by leading the MAC in pass efficiency (144.5) and yards per completion (14.25).

Two All-MACers return
The Warriors return two players that earned All-MAC honors during the 2015 season in senior running back Blake Bowman and senior offensive lineman Austin Mital. Both were second-team selections.

Bowman finished as the MAC leader in rushing yards with 1,150 yards on 206 carries in 2015, becoming the first Warrior to lead the league in rushing sin five years. He also led the MAC with a school-record 17 rushing touchdowns and he posted five 100-yard rushing games, including a 281-yard game against FDU-Florham, the second-most in a single game in program history. The 5-7 running back also became the first player in school history to post four touchdowns in back-to-back games, doing so against King's and FDU-Florham.

Mital helped stabilize the offensive line, as the junior earned his first career all-conference honors. A left guard, Mital started nine games with the Warriors, helping the team average 28.2 points per game.

In the Ward
With five tackles in the 2015 season finale against Misericordia, junior Mike Ward crossed 100 career tackles. The playmaking junior safety finished his sophomore year with 102 career stops to go with 19 passes defended, five interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He led the team with 69 tackles in 2015 and added 13 passes defended.

Staff adjustments 
While seven assistant coaches return in 2016, several will accept new responsibilities, including fourth year assistant Tim Landis, who will become the special teams coordinator along with his duties as recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and sixth-year assistant Pat Taylor, who becomes the run game coordinator along with offensive line coach. Fifth-year assistant Chris Kish will move into the linebackers coaching slot after four years of assisting Mike Weber, who retired after more than two decades in that role. Jermaine Reyes will also continue to work with the staff, serving again as an assistant linebackers coach.

Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Wiser (43rd year) also returns, while two former Warriors – Brian Campbell and Eric Bonenberger – will serve as student assistants while finishing their degree requirements.

Staff additions
Mark Surma comes to Lycoming after three years at Division I Lehigh University. He will serve as the team's defensive passing game coordinator while also focusing on the defensive backs.
With 12 years of experience at the high school level, Chris Long will make the transition to coaching college football in 2016 as an assistant offensive line coach for the Warriors. Long spent the last 11 seasons with the Warrior Run Area High School program, including spending the last five seasons as the defensive coordinator. 

Warriors fifth in preseason poll
The Lycoming College football team was selected fifth in the Middle Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office in Annville, Pa., announced on Monday, Aug. 22.

The Warriors received 50 points in the poll, finishing behind Delaware Valley (75), 2015 MAC Champion Albright (74), Stevenson (68) and Widener (56). The Warriors finished ahead of Lebanon Valley (43), King's (24), FDU-Florham (21), Wilkes (21) and Misericordia (18).

Hines an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar
Junior defensive lineman Adin Hines earned recognition as an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar by the periodical Diverse Issues in Higher Education, earning fourth team football honors. Hines has earned two letters with the football team, earning MAC Academic Honor Roll honors as an accounting major as a junior. A defensive lineman, Hines has appeared in 10 career games and made eight tackles.

Academics first
A record group of 21 Lycoming College football student-athletes earned a slot on the 2015 MAC Fall Academic Honor Roll. The honored athletes were: Andrew BeamerJoe BernardiniJosh CookBryan DarlingSam DresslerAdin HinesBailey Hughes, Tyler Kapinus, Matt MaleckiEddie McKeeJake MikaAustin MitalKirby MoistKeeghan MorrisonJohn PetersCaleb RobbinsSam Romanofsky,Andrew TraxlerRyan UmplebyErik Wagner, and Cole Welham.

Girardi a part of College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016
Over the course of 36 years, former Lycoming College coach Frank Girardi cobbled together one of the finest resumes in the history of college football. He won 257 games, which still ranks 16th all-time in NCAA history. He helped Lycoming win 13 Middle Atlantic Conference titles and make 11 appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament. He led the Warriors to the national title game in 1990 and 1997 and the semifinals in 1996. On Friday, Jan. 8, he was rewarded with perhaps the biggest honor of his career, as he was announced as part of a group of 16 inductees that are part of the 2016 National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame class.

The 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6, 2016 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The inductees will also be honored at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2016, and they will be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with on-campus salutes during the fall.