Wilkes Football aims for above .500 season, 69 freshmen boost team unity

Sitting at 1-1, the Wilkes University football team looks to break the barrier from last years 5-5 season. Coming off their .500 record, the Colonels enter 2013 ranked sixth in the Middle Atlantic Conference.

With Lycoming College, Widener, Delaware Valley, Albright and Lebanon Valley ranked ahead respectively, the team opens 2013 with it’s first two of three games against the first and second ranked team for the season. After coming off a 41-26 victory over Morrsville State College in the season opener, the Colonels fell short 18-34 to the number one ranked Lycoming College in week two.

Saturday, September 21 see’s a heated rematch as Wilkes opens MAC play against Widener. Last year, Wilkes lost 0-90 in the week three matchup.

Looking back, Coach Frank Sheptock advised on what steps the team made in order to prevent a relapse.

“From a different standpoint, we’ve taken some days in camp to start to go over some of the things Widener had hurt us in last year,” said Coach Sheptock. “We’ve tried to be an advocate of finding the answers that we may need that particular week.”

Coach Sheptock enters his 18th year as the head football coach for Wilkes University. Sheptock realizes the road ahead will not be easy, but is excited about the direction in which the team is headed.

“The MAC schedule will be very challenging for us. There’s a certain excitement level to that but I’m really trying to keep the guys focused on what’s important for us to be successful, and that’s the part I’m really excited about for this football team,“ said Sheptock.

Team unity is a big factor this year with Wilkes. Largely in part to the fact this incoming class of freshman sees’s 69 new roster spots. Yes, there are 69 freshmen that have joined the football team. This is one of the largest incoming classes for the university and the numbers reflect that even on the football field.

Coach Sheptock weighs in on how important the recruiting process is for the team.

“We’ve tried to improve our recruiting class and we though one of the ways that we could do that was by increasing the numbers,” Sheptock said. “We felt that the more talented class we could bring in, the better off we would be. We have a very strong group of seniors that I think have really orchestrated some neat things with our new players getting acclimated.”

Even though many of the new players are red-shirted, it does not take away from the chemistry that is being built in the locker room and on the field. Even the recent renovations to the Munson Fieldhouse all contributes to the one word Coach Sheptock keeps stressing, unity.

“We’ve come together as a unit from accountability and trusting each other, being on time, the little things you’re trying to observe. I’ve been really happy with their work ethic. It’s been a very competitive camp.”

Wilkes closes out the season against the rest of the MAC contenders and ends the season in the annual Mayors Cup, held Nov. 16 against River Street rival, Kings College.