Sunday, October 14, 2018

Warriors, Did I really see what I thought I saw?

Ryan Cocciadiferro making another tackle.
Williamsport, PA - I know the trip to Doylestown by heart. It takes me 2 1/2 hours from Williamsport. I head down route 15 to route 80. Hit the Pennsylvania turnpike then get on 309 and I am almost there. I have seen some strange things in Doylestown over the years, but this year, did you see what I saw?

What I saw was a young defensive freshman who was always in my camera lens. Almost every defensive shot, there he was. This freshman seems to have the football maturity of a senior captain. Energetic, aggressive, swarming, flying, smart. You name it and he was doing it. He is Ryan Cocciadiferro (Dumont, NJ/Dumont) and he is a good one.

Delaware Valley was Ryan's first start of the year. And he made it a good one. Seven tackles, five solo and two assists, one fumble recovery and a pass breakup. He looked good against the #17 team in the nation, Delaware Valley.

I know that Ryan has only played one game so far, but I have a good feeling about him. Even a veteran would enjoy stats that Ryan put up Saturday. He has what it takes; he has what I spotted in some of the great one over the years. All the best to Ryan in the games to come.

As I said earlier, I have spotted defensive players early in their career who I thought would be great players. Just to name a few:
'17 Sr DB Mike Ward
  • DB Mike Ward (Edgewater, Md. / South River) who finished his career with the Warriors as one of the top defensive players in program history, finishing sixth in school history with 263 career tackles … first player to lead the team in tackles for three straight years since Bill Small from 1989-91 … posted a career-high 88 tackles, notching three interceptions and six pass breakups … led the MAC and finished 19th in Division III with 6.3 solo tackles per game and finished fifth with 8.8 total tackles per contest … notched 45 tackles off rushes, 34 on passes, five on kickoffs and three on punt returns, all leading the team … finished seventh in the MAC with 0.9 passes defended and 11th with 0.3 interceptions per game … also forced and recovered a fumble … averaged 30.6 yards on seven kickoff returns, posting an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Stevenson … also forced an recovered a fumble at Stevenson … had career-high 15 tackles against Lebanon Valley and posted 10 or more stops three times … had a 32-yard interception return against Wilkes and a 41-yarder against Misericordia, two of his eight plays of more than 20-yard plays, which finished third on the team … a member of the MAC Academic Honor Roll.
  • DB Tanner Troutman
    '14 Sr DB Tanner Troutman
    (Hegins, Pa. / Tri-Valley). In his junior year, Troutman was named the East Region Defensive Player of the Year … the first First Team All-American in school history … earned Second Team Beyond Sports Network All-American honors and First Team USA Football Network All-American accolades … earned First Team All-Middle Atlantic Conference honors … tied for Division III lead with eight interceptions (0.8 per game) … started all 10 games … posted 58 tackles, 39 solo … recorded six seven-tackle games … earned two Team of the Week and Beyond Sport Network Team of the Week accolades, posting two interceptions in a win over nationally-ranked Delaware Valley and a school-record three against Stevenson … also broke up six passes on the season, helping him tie for the league lead with 14 passes defended (interceptions plus breakups) … had a half-tackle for a loss against King’s … a First Team Preseason All-American from both USA College Football and Tanner faced many injuries his senior year.
  • DB Kabongo Bukasa
    '13 Sr DB Kabongo Bukasa
    (Sharon Hill, Pa. / Academy Park). In his junior year, Kabongo was a Second Team Beyond College Sports Network All-American … Second Team All-East Region … MAC Defensive Player of the Year … First Team All-MAC … Played in all 10 games … Had 70 tackles … Forced a fumble at Albright and against Widener … Had two interceptions against Widener and one against King’s … Had four pass breakups on the season … Had at least five tackles in each of his first eight games … Earned MAC Defensive Player of the Week against Widener … Only player in the MAC in the top 10 in tackles and interceptions, finishing sixth in both categories … Team’s Defensive Player of the Year. Kabongo suffered injuries in his senior year but still contributed handly to the program.
So did I really see what I thought I saw? Yes I did. I saw a young player wanting to become the best of his trade for the Lycoming Warriors. He got his opportunity and took advantage of it. He went all out. And there are others on this team who will make their mark this year. Come on out Saturday to see them.

Until the next one!

John Green '77