Sprint Football Kicks Off 2017 Campaign on Friday
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy sprint football team kicks off the 2017 season with a road game against Chestnut Hill on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at A. Gaithwaite Stadium in Conshohocken, Pa. The two teams met last season in Annapolis with the Midshipmen posting a 43-0 victory.
The Mids finished the 2016 campaign with a 6-1 record and second place finish in the Collegiate Sprint Football League. Five of the team's six wins last season were by 33 or more points. The Mids' lone loss was in overtime on the road to Penn, the eventual league champions, by a score of 29-23. Navy ended the regular season defeating Army, 10-3, in the Star Game.
Third-year head coach Major Jeff Polson, USMC will look to better the Midshipmen's runner-up finish from last season. Polson, who is 11-3 (.786) overall as head coach, will look to senior captains Mac Lavis (Orinda, Calif.) and Alex Oldham (Dayton, Ohio) to provide leadership for the 2017 Midshipmen team both on and off the field.
Navy returns eight players off of last-year's team who earned All-CSFL accolades -- Lavis, Oldham, Dane Livengood (Treynor, Iowa), Patrick McMahan (Windermere, Fla.), Jonathan Meier (Camarillo, Calif.), Bryant Schlade (Napoleon, Ohio), George Skinner (Varnville, S.C.), and Miles Whitlow (Madison, Ala.).
Last season, the Mids' defense was second in the league in yards and points allowed per game with respective averages of 203.0 yards and 8.7 points. The defense's final stat line included 27 sacks, eight interceptions and six forced fumbles. Against Post on Sept. 30, Navy held Post to a 2016 CSFL single-game low of -25 yards rushing.
Schlade, who earned first-team All-CSFL honors last season, anchors the Mids defensive line. He is joined by Troy Monroe (Columbus, Ga.) and Luke Coughlin (Islip, N.Y.) on the defensive front. Schlade led the team with 43 tackles a season ago, including a team-best 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. Monroe notched 15 stops as a rookie, including 6.0 TFL and 3.5 sacks, while Coughlin contributed 17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, and 2.0 sacks.
Oldham leads a linebacking corps that is expected to see Mason Hooten (Orlando, Fla.) and Dean Rye (Fairfax, Va.) join the captain in starting roles. Oldham posted 34 tackles, including 8.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks on his way to second-team all-league accolades last year. Hooten recorded 11 tackles, including seven solo stops and four assisted tackles, while registering a tackle for loss, while Rye recorded 14 tackles (nine solo, five assisted) with a sack.
At rover, Sheppard Wilson (Charlotte, N.C.) returns after playing in all seven games last year, making five starts and recording 22 tackles, including 17 solo stops with a pair of pass breakups, an interception and a quarterback hurry.
In the secondary, the Midshipmen will look to McMahan, Tommy Guinan (Elmhurst, Ill.), Pat Guinan (Elmhurst, Ill.), and Grant Hooper (Huntington, Md.) to limit the opposition's air attack. McMahan, a two-time all-league selection, played in all seven games last season, making five starts. He recorded 12 tackles on the year, including 11 solo stops. T. Guinan amassed 18 tackles (nine solo, nine assisted) to go along with a pair of pass breakups and an interception, while younger brother Pat saw action in all seven games as a freshman a year ago. Hooper earned the starting job in the preseason as a plebe.
In 2016, Navy's offense ranked first in the CSFL in total yardage with a 403.7 yards per game average on the strength of the number one rushing offense with 210.3 yards per contest. The Mids also led the league in scoring offense with a 37.6 points per game average on 36 touchdowns, six field goals and one safety scored.
This season the Mids will look to Brandon Coleman (Yonkers, N.Y.) to replace quarterback Nick Deterding (Lindsborg, Kan.) who graduated after the 2016 season. Coleman began his collegiate career as a backup quarterback for the NCAA football team at the Naval Academy before joining the sprint football team. Last season, he played in six games as a reserve running back.
Lavis, an All-CSFL performer last season, assumes the role of starting running back for the 2017 season. The 2017 captain rushed for 299 yards on 64 carries, while adding 58 receiving yards on seven catches for 357 all-purpose yards as a junior. He scored three rushing touchdowns, while adding a receiving TD.
SB Matt Vogel (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), FB Brian McLaughlin (Melrose, Mass.), and TE Livengood enter opening weekend at starters in their respective positions. Vogel amassed 265 receiving yards on 20 receptions with three touchdowns, while Livengood recorded 134 yards receiving on nine receptions with a touchdown. McLaughlin did not compete during the 2016 season due to injury, but saw action as a freshman in 2015 primarily on special teams.
Whitlow and J.T. Thompson (Stratham, N.H.) are set to lead the receiving corps for the Midshipmen. Whitlow earned first team accolades a year ago, recording the second-most receiving touchdowns in the CSFL with seven, while notching the sixth-most receiving yards with 362. Thompson returns to his starting position after recording 282 yards receiving on 21 catches with three touchdowns last year.
Meier, a second team All-CSFL performer, anchors the offensive line this season, which also features Devon Doss (Chicago, Ill.), Adam Krause (Omro, Wis.), Reid Kaplan (Charleston, S.C.), and Dan Fullmer (Milwaukee, Wis.). Last season, the offensive line helped pave the way for a rushing attack that amassed 1,472 yards on the ground with 16 touchdowns, while providing pass protection for an air assault that tallied 1,354 passing yards with an additional 16 TDs.
On special teams, Jared Swenson (Seymour, Wis.) is slated to take care of placekicking duties, while Skinner, a second team All-CSFL honoree in 2016, will handle the team's punting.
Last year, Navy's special teams unit was first in kick return average at 25.1 and second in punt returns with a 9.5 yards per return. At Penn last season, McMahan returned the opening kickoff 96 yards. The kick return touchdown was the only one all year in the CSFL.