Sept. 15, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Navy opens its 2011 season this Saturday when it meets Army in the seventh-annual Adirondack Trust Allegiance Bowl in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Saturday's game will be the first of two between the rivals this season, as the Mids will travel to West Point to face the Black Knights in the Star Game on Nov. 4.
Navy leads the all-time series 38-31-1 (.550) and has won 11 of the past 12 meetings.
Both Army and Navy are 2-1 in their previous Allegiance Bowl appearances.
Link to GameTracker for Saturday's Game
2011 Season Preview
The Navy sprint football team returns a hungry squad in 2011 that is looking reclaim the Collegiate Sprint Football League title. The Mids return 13 all-conference players when the season kicks-off on Sept. 17 against Army in the Allegiance Bowl.
"As a team, we've been waiting for this season to begin since the last game of 2010," said head coach Maj. Mitch Maury, USMC. "It was a tremendous disappointment to go out the way we did and it really motivated the guys in the offseason."
With the graduation of two-year starter Tyler Terronez, the competition for the starting quarterback job remained open entering the fall. Despite the two chief competitors - Lewis Correale and William Hampton - being freshmen, Maury has been impressed with their abilities.
"We're fortunate that we've got a lot of young options," said Maury. "Lewis Correale has impressed us from a leadership standpoint - he takes control of the huddle and has good field-presence.
"Having a few good, capable quarterbacks is a good dilemma to have."
Navy ranked second in the CSFL last season with an average of 397 yards per game and returns a solid stable of running backs in 2011.
"Pound-for-pound, our running backs are the strongest guys on the team and it is probably our strongest position," said Maury.
Sophomore David Williams, senior Marty Meehan and juniors Denzel Reina and D.J. Hooper combined for over 900 yards on the ground last season and return as the team's top backs in 2011. All four individuals contribute in different ways and will be called upon throughout the season.
"David is going to be a force in this league," said Maury about Williams, who earned All-CSFL honorable mention last season. "He just runs so hard and runs downhill all the time."
Meehan, who rushed averaged 5.0 yards per carry last season, provides the Mids with the threat of breakaway speed.
Reina and Hooper add to the continuity in the backfield as each appeared in six games last season.
Despite the loss of the team's top two receivers last season in JoJo Catrini and Darrin McElroy, Navy returns an experienced group in 2011 - with a new edition in former running back Jordan Foley.
The versatile Foley led Navy in both total rushing yards (295) and all-purpose yards (751).
Senior Erik Erlandson is the team's leading returning receiver. The Jacksonville, N.C., native appeared in all seven games last season and caught 19 balls, which was second most on the team.
Sophomore Tracy Daniels, who has been impressive in practice so far this season, will also compete for significant playing time.
A freshman that has caught the eyes of the coaching staff early on is Jesse Holian.
"He is a big body (6-2), which is a hot commodity in this league, because with the weight limit you usually don't get too many tall guys," said Maury. "He runs crisp routes and has been aggressive in fighting for balls."
At tight end, the Mids have a trio of players in Will Harris, Daniel Meaney and Ryan Monagle that have competed hard for the starting spot in pre-season practices.
"We've had really good competition between the three guys and all of them are hungry to step up," said Maury.
On the offensive line, Navy returns two All-CSFL first-team members from last season in tackle Matt Williams and guard Sean Fergerson. The duo joins another experienced lineman in center Drew Owens.
"It was great to have Drew as a starter last year and he progressively got better," said Maury. "He was one of the guys that was focused over the summer and came back ready to go."
Senior Nick Dominguez, who played some at linebacker last season, will make the fulltime switch to offensive tackle this season. Junior Mark Reaser rounds out the probable starting five with Josh Escobar also expected to contribute.
Navy brings back just one starter from last year's team in junior defensive end Julian Jerzerick, who produced 26 tackles and earned honorable mention All-CSFL honors.
"Jerz is our position captain and our anchor on the defensive line," said Maury.
After appearing in a few games last year, junior Micah Dose figures to get a majority of the playing time at the other defensive end position.
Dylan Etzel and former running back Tyshan Larry are expected to start on the inside as both have impressed the coaches in practice.
"Both guys are strong, quick off the ball and plug gaps really well," said Maury.
Will Parker will lead a steady Navy linebacker corps that will also include Matt Piotrowicz and T.J. Leonard. Parker earned All-CSFL honorable mention honors last season and will make the switch from Mike (middle) to Sam (strong) in 2011.
"Will is very athletic and an extremely intelligent football player," said Maury.
Leonard, the group's emotion leader will play the Will (weak) spot, while Piotrowicz will step in at Mike.
"Matt's got a nose for the ball and is there nonstop," Maury said.
With three-time All-CSFL safety Mike Nolan graduated, the Mids will turn to a pair of seniors in Zzmarr Stone and Vince DeBenedetti to lead the defensive backfield. Stone, the team's defensive captain, led the league in interceptions last season.
DeBenedetti got solid experience last season and will certainly make a greater impact in 2011.
"He's the most well-conditioned athlete I've ever met in my life," said Maury. "He doesn't have a slow speed and never tires."
Alex McGlaughlin, Brendan West and Stephen Meidus round out the expected starters in the defensive backfield.
Kicker Adrian Montecinos garnered second-team All-CSFL honors as a freshman last season. The Whittier, Calif., native hit all but one extra-point attempt and was 7-for-7 on field goal attempts.
"Adrian was great last year - Mr. Consistency," said Maury.
Punter Mike DeLong, also a second-team All-CSFL honoree, returns to solidify the Mids' kicking game.