Football Reloads and Prepares for Upcoming Season

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Junior wide receiver John Maddaluna III returns a kick for the special teams unit during a preseason practice session before an upcoming intrasquad scrimmage.

David Febrillet, Class of 2019

After an impressive 2014 season including notable wins over Cornell, Princeton and Bucknell, the football team now looks to revamp itself as a dominant program and retake the Patriot League title. With the skillful leadership of seasoned veterans and 24 first-year players, the Raiders are positioned to make this season one to remember.

The loss of invaluable members of the Class of 2015 such as defensive back Mike Armiento and linebacker Kris Kent have opened up opportunities for different players to contend for playing time. Offensively, the team lost leaders in fullback Ed Pavalko and lineman Spencer Wallach. However, with the number of veteran returners and the wealth of talent coming via the first-years, this year’s team has incredible depth on both sides of the ball. According to Coach Dan Hunt, every single player has had to compete to earn a spot on the team. 

“We are in a unique situation this year because when we looked at our depth chart, we didn’t think we’d need a freshman to fill any one position…So really if a freshman ends up starting on game one, it’s because he beat out a veteran player and that’s tough to do,” Coach Hunt said.

Experience is one of this team’s strong suits, as the Raiders were able to bring back almost all of their offensive line, starting quarterback, two star receivers and their three tailbacks. The coaching staff believes the return of junior quarterback Jake Melville is the catalyst for this season. Melville is a dual threat quarterback, as he possesses a strong arm, quick feet and experienced knowledge of the offensive system.

Defensively, players such as junior Chris Morgan have moved around the field a bit. 

“This year’s defensive line is as good of a group as I have ever seen,” Coach Hunt said. Hunt also went on to say that senior defensive lineman Victor Steffan has been “flat-out unblockable” throughout training camp.  

The energy, enthusiasm and strong team morale are all derived from the momentous win over Bucknell at the end of last season. That one game altered the team’s overall dynamic and played a major role in setting the tone for this upcoming season. Junior offensive lineman Jordi Dalmau echoed the coaching staff’s sentiments, saying that the team is going for the championship this year and that they have the skill to do it.

The Raiders look to build on the improvements made late last season against Patriot League opponents, and size themselves up against powerhouse programs beginning with Navy on September 5. The team will host its first home game of the 2015 campaign against New Hampshire on September 12. Looking ahead in the season schedule, the Raiders will host Yale on the weekend of September 19 at 1 p.m. for Colgate’s annual Homecoming game. Mark your calendars now.                                        

Contact David Febrillet at [email protected]