Sep 5, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy sprint football team will open the 2013 season with an exhibition game on Friday against Coppin State in preparation for the six-game Collegiate Sprint Football League slate. The Mids return 15 All-CSFL performers from last season and are looking to claim their 36th CSFL title under second-year head coach Maj. Kavan Lake, USMC.
"We're ready to go this season," said Lake. "We have good chemistry and I think we're more comfortable as a staff as well, so we'll look to capitalize on that.
"The team knows it has unfinished business, so that is our focus this year - one game at a time."
Navy and Coppin State will meet at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 7:00 PM on Friday. Admission is free and live statistics will be available.
The always stout Navy defense led the CSFL last season, yielding an average of just 193 yards per game. The Mids produced at total of 70 tackles for loss and held five of their six CSFL opponents to 14 points or fewer in 2012.
"We have a good group of seniors coming back," said Lake. "There are a lot of juniors that will be stepping up as well. The team is fairly young and we've had some guys that have had some experience early in their careers."
Senior Brendan West returns as a two-time, second team All-CSFL honoree. The defensive captain was voted team MVP in 2012.
"Brendan is the leader of the defense," said Lake. "His has a great work ethic and carries himself very well. He's not a guy that has a whole lot of words, so it's significant when he talks to the team."
Fellow senior Alec McGlaughlin also brings a wealth of experience to the secondary. He was a second-team All-CSFL performer a year ago, ranking seventh on the team with 25 tackles.
While McGlaughlin and West bring senior leadership to the secondary, a pair of sophomores will be counted on heavily at the linebacker position. Both Collin Ascherl
and Temple Sloan
started all seven games were voted to the All-CSFL second team last season.
"Collin and Temple will both be factors again this year," said Lake. "We have a couple other freshmen, including Malcolm Pugh, that are capable of stepping up like those two players did last year. Rex Willis has amazing closing speed and will be a great addition to our secondary. We also have a few new smart linebackers in Blake Papet, Keegan Kush and Nick Abramson. Those guys have all shown promise early on."
The veteran presence among the linebackers is senior Matthew Piotrowicz, a two-time, first-team All-CSFL selection.
Christopher Mershon returns to lead a young defensive line. Mershon was tops among all Navy defensive linemen with 28 tackles in 2012, while his 8.0 sacks were also the most.
Zac Blanchard, an honorable mention All-CSFL selection in 2012, produced 5 tackles for loss and will be counted on even more now as a junior. Lake expects senior Jarrett Brant to increase his production as well.
"Jarrett will see a lot of playing time and will be effective," said Lake.
The Mids ranked second in the CSFL in total offense last season, scoring at least 37 points in five of their seven games. While the running game averaged over 190 yards per contest, it did so without one of the program's top all-time rushers in David Williams. The offensive captain suffered a knee injury in the opening game of 2012, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season. Williams rushed for 1,152 yards as a sophomore in 2011 and with 1,502 for his career, he is just 309 shy of tying Chris Butler for the most in program history.
"It's great to have David healthy again," said Lake. "We're excited about his return."
Both William Hampton and Lewis Correale saw action under center last season. Correale took a majority of the snaps, starting four games, including each of the last three. He finished the season 51-of-98 for 615 yards. Hampton threw for 260 yards in five appearances.
"Will and Lewis will be our field generals this year," said Lake. "Both of them got some work last season and have had two years to mature. As juniors now, the expectations are a little higher. The have come back ready to compete and we're excited to see what they can do. We know what they're capable of; they just need to string it together."
The two quarterbacks will have the benefit of working with an experienced corps of receivers. Senior Michael Buck led Navy in receptions last season with 19, while fellow classmate Tracy Daniels ranked fourth on the team with seven receptions.
"Those two guys are our two senior leaders at the wide receiver position," said Lake.
Dominic Chumich, a junior, led all Mids with three touchdown catches in 2012 and his 118 yards ranked third on the team. He will be factor again along with senior tight ends Dan Shackleton and Daniel Meaney.
An addition to the group of wide receivers is former running back Corey Garcia. As a freshman last season, Garcia ranked fifth in the CSFL with a total of 398 rushing yards.
"Corey will get a significant amount of work after a good freshman year," said Lake. "Because of the good job he did last year, we thought he would be a good slot receiver. He's got great speed at that position."
The offensive line will be in a rebuilding mode with the loss of three all-CSFL performers from last season. However, the Mids return seniors Joshua Escobar and Ryan Keyes, who were both all-league selections.
"We lost some experience on the offensive line, but we return a pair of juniors in Brian Mihaljevich and Jarrett Kleintop that have also seen some action," said Lake.
One component of the Mids' game has remained consistent for the last three seasons and will continue to be so again in 2013 as kicker Adrian Montecinos returns for his senior year. Montecinos is a three-time All-CSFL second team honoree and has given Navy a reliable special-teams presence. He enters the season with 19 career field goals, tied for most in program history.
"Adrian has been a huge factor for us," said Lake. "He's a consistently hard worker."
While Montecinos is returning, the team will have to replace all-league punter, Michael DeLong.
"We have a couple of young guys in the mix to punt," said Lake. "Losing Mike was tough, but I know we'll find someone to step up."
After an exhibition against Coppin State on Sept. 6, the Mids will begin the regular season on Sept. 13 against CSFL-newcomer Franklin Pierce. The following weekend, Navy will travel to Princeton to meet the Tigers on Sept. 20.
Navy will play consecutive home games beginning on Sept. 27 when it hosts Mansfield at 7 p.m. The following Friday, Oct. 4, Navy will meet Penn at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The Midshipmen will play their final three games of the season on Saturday afternoons, the first of which will come when they make their inaugural trip to Post on Oct. 12. Since Post joined the conference two years ago the Mids have won both meetings at home.
Navy will play its final home game of the 2013 season on Saturday, Oct. 19 when it hosts Cornell at noon. Two of the last four meetings between Navy and Cornell have been decided by eight points or fewer.
As always, Army and Navy will meet in the final game of the year on Saturday, Oct. 26 at West Point. The two teams have met in the final game of the season since 1994, with the CSFL title on the line every year since 2001.