Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wilkes Football - Colonels Game Notes vs. Lebanon Valley Dutchman

Photo courtesy of Wilkes Sports Information
Wilkes Colonels (0-1) vs. Lebanon Valley Dutchmen (0-1)
Saturday, September 9, 2017 - 1:00 p.m.
Schmidt Stadium

Wilkes University opens its 2017 home slate and Middle Atlantic Conference play against Lebanon Valley College at Schmidt Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Both teams enter the matchup coming off a season opening loss.

Trey Brown (Colorado ‘93) begins his fourth season at the helm of the Wilkes football program following his hiring prior to the 2014 season. In just three years, Brown has coached 22 Colonels who earned All-MAC honors including first team tight end Jeremy Hartman in 2014, defensive end Jason Ugwu in 2015 and tight end Garrett Armstrong in 2016. Under Brown’s guidance, the Colonels offense ranked in the top five in several offensive statistical categories including passing yards and plays per-game. In a game at Delaware Valley in 2014, the Wilkes offense ran 113 plays, a Division III regulation game record. In 2016, the Colonels recorded one of the biggest upset victories in the program’s history when it bested No. 12 Stevenson University 38-35 on the road. Brown came to Wilkes after four years serving as the quarterbacks and special teams’ coordinator at Muhlenberg. In his role with the Mules, Brown was responsible for coaching the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and special teams as well as the installation of the pass game. Prior to his time at Muhlenberg, Brown spent four seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Lehigh University.

Joe Buehler (LVC ‘89) is in his second year as Lebanon Valley head coach after 12 years as the program’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Buehler took the reins from longtime head coach Jim Monos after playing and coaching for LVC’s all-time winningest coach. As the team’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, Buehler has helped lead the LVC football program to new heights. His lines have consistently been among the best in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), turning in some of the conference’s top-rated rushing offenses and sack protection numbers over the past few seasons. He also mentored all-American tackles Sean Tetreault ‘10 and Jason Sneeringer ‘11, and guard Brendan Kozub ‘14. The 2009 edition of the Dutchmen, which had a program-best 9-2 record, scored more points than any team in LVC history (349) and boasted two 900-yard rushers in Charlie Parker ‘10 and Ben Guiles ‘12.

This will be the 46th meeting between the schools as Wilkes leads the series 23-22. LVC has taken the last six contests including a 38-20 win in Annville last season. The last Colonels win came in a 35-28 overtime decision in 2010 in Annville.

Wilkes stays home to face No. 12 Delaware Valley University on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Schmidt Stadium. Wilkes fell 52-10 against the Aggies last season in Doylestown, Pa.

Wilkes is 5-5 in home openers over the past 10 years.

Sophomore quarterback Jose Tabora picked up where he left off last season in the 2017 season opener as he threw for three touchdowns while also leading the Colonels’ ground game with 31 yards. He was 23-35 through the air for 195 yards. Tabora took over the starting signal caller job in week seven of 2016 and never looked back leading the Colonels to wins against Lycoming and at nationally ranked Stevenson to finish the season. Tabora, a dual threat quarterback, can use his strong arm to make long plays through the air or scramble with his legs for first downs causing headaches for opposing defenses as evident by his school record 453-yards, three touchdowns through the air and 36-yard, two touchdowns on the ground stat line at Stevenson. He finished his freshman year throwing for 1,098 yards on 96-for-156 passing and eight touchdowns. He also ran for 348 yards on 84 attempts and four more scores.

Freshman Wade Rippeon entered last week’s game and went 2-3 for 12 yards in his first Wilkes action.

Junior Jacob Kadis drew the start at running back for Wilkes against Muhlenberg last week and rushed 10 times for 19 yards and added two receptions for nine yards. Sophomore Shane Deemer was out last week but the Colonels are looking to get him back on the field as he possesses all the tools needed to be an everyday three-down back. Deemer can run inside or outside the tackles, catch passes as well as block which fits perfectly into the Colonels offensive scheme. Freshman Sincere Williams carried the ball seven times for seven yards last week. Also seeing at least one touch for Wilkes out of the backfield was freshman running back Malachi Clore.

Pre-season All-American and All-MAC selection Garrett Armstrong started his senior season strong with 10 receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown from the tight end position against Muhlenberg. He now has 81 receptions for 845 yards and nine touchdowns in his Wilkes career.

Senior Aaron Coyne led the wide receiving core with four catches for 36 yards and two touchdowns to start the season. Junior Jeff Steeber caught three balls for 14 yards and also ran once for 12 yards. Also factoring into the Wilkes air attack was sophomore Greg Albertson who caught two passes for 12 yards, sophomore Austin Krauss one catch for seven yards, and junior Zach Bogoly one catch for four yards.
Wide receiver Nick Yanik ran the ball once.

The offensive line continues to get stronger thanks to a dedicated offseason in the weight room. Junior Anthony Marcincavage moved to center this season with All-MAC performer senior Ryan Bowman at left guard. Sophomore Brandyne Tynes started the season opener at left tackle and sophomore Mike Osayi was at right tackle. Freshman Vincent Rogers started his first collegiate game at right guard. Rogers looks to have the size and footwork to be an impact player in the trenches for Wilkes this season. Freshman Nicholas Kubala also saw action on the line last Saturday.

It all starts up front stopping the run and getting to the quarterback and the defensive line has the experience and young talent to do just that. The sophomore trio of nose guard Ryan Smith and defensive ends Vinnie Werner and Dane Tarantelli started up front for Wilkes against Muhlenberg. Each player made one stop. Another sophomore, Brendan Riley made three tackles including one for a loss. Senior Richmond Owusua and sophomore Derek Schneider also saw action on the Colonel defensive line.

The middle of the Colonel defense looks to be the strength of the unit with three of the four starters back. Junior Lukas Wood led the way with 11 tackles in week one including 10 that were solo. Junior Jordan Stiles and sophomore Bud Moyer both made six tackles with Styles making one pass breakup. Junior Michael Murphy made five stops and one pass break up to round out the starting foursome for Wilkes. Last season Wood finished third on the team in tackles with 52 stops, 5.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.0 sacks. Styles recorded 47 tackles with 7.0 for a loss, Murphy followed with 32 tackles including 6.0 for a loss. Moyer contributed 19 total tackles and 2.0 tackles-for-loss. Gabe Allgyer, Booby Nye, Alec Norton, Cole Jesmer, Brock Klahold, and Justin Trolinger all also saw action in the season opener.

A few players have transitioned to the secondary to shore up a group that was hit hard through graduation. Former running backs senior Jacob Brook and junior Devin Fink have moved to safety and corner respectively. Brook posted eight tackles and recovered a fumble and Fink made two tackles in their first defensive action as starters. Junior Jones Mensah started at the other safety position and made three solo tackles after playing linebacker last year where he made 27 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Sophomore Ishmael Coleman started at the other corner position and made five tackles and added a pass breakup.

Senior Isaiah Robinson forced a fumble and made two tackles including one for a loss. Fellow seniors Casey Evans and Michael Legg made three and two tackles respectively. Legg may be the most experienced player back in the secondary finishing with 28 tackles at safety in 2016. Jordan Billups, Ian Brown, Glenn Weist, Dylan Poole, Robert Wagner, and Zac Weber also saw on field action in week one.

Junior Mike Hauck was more than stellar in his first year with Wilkes making good on 8-of-9 field goal attempts, topping the MAC in percentage at 88.9 percent. He also fared well in kickoffs netting an average of 42.1 yards in 48 attempts. Against Muhlenberg he kicked off four times with a 52.3 yard average. Bobby Nye assumes punting duties again this season posting an average of 31.8 yards per punt including five inside the twenty last season. He punted six times for an average of 37.83 yards and two inside the twenty.