Wilkes Colonels football season preview

Frank Passalacqua, Sports Editor

“Through camp many players have performed admirably,” Wilkes football coach Frank Sheptock.  “I am impressed with our team’s work ethic, maturity and focus. Our focus has been to play fast, play hard and to finish plays. The player’s intensity, sense of immediacy and intelligence is what is sticking out thus far.”

The Wilkes University put together a memorable game to start off the 2012 season.

Coming out with a 9-7 victory over Morrisville State College, it was kicker Jordan Fredo who delivered a clutch game-winning 18-yard field goal. Fredo went 3-3 on the day and earned himself the MAC Special Teams Player of the Week award for his heroics.

The Colonels came out fighting from the beginning, allowing only 86 passing yards on defense while lighting it up for 287 passing yards of their own. Behind that was Tyler Bernsten, throwing for 157 yards on 10-18 attempts. Alex George had an impressive evening as well at quarterback, throwing for 130 yards on 15-23 attempts.

However, it was running back Andrew Regan making the highlights by going over the century mark with five receptions and 110 yards, tacking on to his 17 rushing attempts for 43 yards on the ground.

Like previously mentioned, the defense for the Colonels was remarkable.The D allowed only 225 total yards and gave up only one score on the entire outing. Making sure to seal the game was defensive back Paul Gaffney who recorded seven total tackles and prevented a late rally by catching the interception with nine seconds on the clock.

This was the ninth season opener victory for Coach Sheptock.With the whole season still ahead of them, only good things are hoped to come to the Colonels.

Wilkes gained 41 freshmen this offseason and the coaches could not be more excited for what the future holds.

“The first year class is an impressive group,” stated Coach Sheptock. “They have acclimated themselves well to the collegiate game and have handled their transition very well.”

41 new players is a lot to handle, but the coaching staff has the needed experience to bring these young guys to the desired level.The team is looking to improve from last season’s 4-5 record.

“We were very pleased with our offseason,” Sheptock said. “We improved the team with recruiting and our veteran players demonstrated significant improvements in their physical conditioning.”

The Colonels have an early September 8 bye, but make their first home game appearance on Sept. 15 against Albright College.

The Week 3 match-up will be the MAC Conference opener. Last year, Wilkes lost 26-65 and has a 1-4 record against Albright since 2007.

Looking to bring the first home game to an end with a W, it’s the building process for any great team to succeed that Coach Sheptock spoke of.

“I like our team chemistry and the maturity the team is exhibiting. Our seniors have done a great job bringing the team through camp.”

In the season opener for Albright, the Lions came out on top with a field-goal, much like Wilkes, with a 29-26 win over Kean University. Running back Ty Hughes for the Lions received honors for MAC Offensive Player of the Week with 142 yards and three touchdowns.

If the Colonels want to start off the season (2-0), it’s the running game the team should focus on by shutting them down. The 142 yard performance by Hughes is more yards than Wilkes allowed all together on the ground, so stopping him will be the key.

Be sure to come out to all the home games this season to show your support for the Wilkes Colonels.