August 9, 2013

Trinity Football Set To Defend NESCAC Title This Fall

More news about: Trinity (Conn.)

Hartford, Conn. - The 2013 Trinity College football team, under the direction of Head Coach Jeff Devanney (8th Season), looks to become the first team to repeat as England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Champions since the Bantams took four in a row from 2002 to 2005 this fall. In a league where the title-winning team has had to win all eight games the last five years, Trinity is up to the challenge with the return of 60 letterwinners from the 2012 undefeated squad including no less than four who received pre-season All-American recognition. The Bantams, 36-4 over the last five autumns, led NESCAC in seven statistical categories a year ago, and boasts one of the most talented and accomplished stable of running backs in all of NCAA Division III with senior co-captain Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.), senior Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.), and junior Michael Budness (Belchertown, Mass.). Fellow senior co-captain Brett Cde Baca(Millbrae, Calif.), an All-New England Division II/III linebacker, leads Trinity's perennially dominant defense.

The Bantams open 2013 at Bates, a formidable opponent that enjoyed its best season in recent memory last fall at 5-3, on Sept. 21, before hosting longtime rival Williams in its home opener on Sept. 28 at Jessee/Miller Field where Trinity holds a 47-game winning streak dating back to 2001. The following three weekends include games against teams with a combined record of 2-22 last season, but the last three Saturdays will be a tough test with road games at Middlebury and Amherst who were 7-1 and 6-2, respectively, a year ago, before the Homecoming finale in Hartford against Wesleyan. In 2012, Trinity edged the Cardinals, which were 5-3 last season, in overtime to clinch sole possession of the league crown.

Bunker will go down in Trinity football history as one the greatest players of all time. Already the Bantams' all-time leading rusher after three seasons including his rookie year when he was a reserve until the fourth week, Bunker is versatile, multi-skilled, and durable as the team's feature back. Bunker is the only player in Trinity history to rush for over 3,000 yards, and has 3,066 on 577 carries for a 5.3 per-carry average. He gained 1,275 yards on the ground last fall, 735 more than the second-leading rusher in the conference, with a league-best 11 touchdowns and has 28 pass receptions out of the backfield in three seasons. Crick is an explosive weapon out of the backfield and in the return game who averaged over 100 all-purpose yards per game and finished seventh in the NESCAC with 540 rushing yards. Budness, who possesses the skills to be a starter at tailback, fills countless roles for the Bantams, including FB, H-back, TE, and RB, and joined Bunker and Crick as Pre-Season All-American selections. He was second on the team with 14 catches in 2012, scored six touchdowns, and helped the Bantams average 5.5 yards per carry as the lead blocker on many occasions. All three can run, catch, and block as needed, allowing Trinity to use multiple formations without changing personnel.

Trinity graduated four players with starting experience, all of whom received various levels of post-season honors and awards during their careers, on the offensive line, but return two solid players to rebuild around. Junior Joe Magardino (Chappaqua, N.Y.) stepped in as a starting tackle last fall, but should slide easily to his natural position a center this season, while sophomore Matt Porter (Chicago, Ill.) enjoyed a fine year as a rookie starter at tackle. Replacing multiple-year starters at guard will not be easy, particularly All-East Region honoree and three-time All-NESCAC selection Mike Valenti, but sophomore Jake Golden (Hingham, Mass.) is a leading candidate to win one of the spots. Senior William Emery (Glenside, Pa.), juniors Connor Flynn (Sarasota, Fla.) and William Lynner (Cohasset, Mass.), and sophomore Mike Castellana (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will also be among the contenders for major roles on the Bantam offensive line.

Quarterback is another position where pre-season competition will determine the depth chart, as Trinity looks to replace Ryan Burgess' 15-0 record as a starter under center. Sophomore Henry Foye (Madison, Conn.) had a good rookie year and junior J.P. Morales (Uncasville, Conn.) is a talented athlete and has leadership skills. The pair will vie with underclassmen throughout late August and early September for the starting nod. Senior WR A.J. Jones (Freetown, Sierra Leone) will give any Trinity quarterback a lethal outside deep threat, having averaged 28.7 yards on 13 catches with five touchdowns in 2012. Juniors Chris Ragone (Sarasota, Fla.), Adrian Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.), and Will Herbert (Winchester, Mass.) and sophomore Ian Dugger (West Hartford, Conn.) are the other top returning wide outs hoping to fill the shoes of four-year starter Drew Grombala. Ragone has 15 catches for 276 yards over two seasons. Junior Brendan  Oliver (Danvers, Mass.) is a solid returning tight end and freshman TE Luke Viering (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) makes his return after missing 2012 with an injury.

Trinity, which finished in the top ten nationally in scoring defense, total defense, pass efficiency defense, and passing defense last season, has five returning starters and a host of upperclassmen with significant varsity experience at several positions. Junior Nate Cyr (Kingston, N.H) was outstanding at DE late last fall, tying for the team lead in tackles for loss with eight to go with 27 tackles and a pair of sacks, while senior Andrew Paul (Pompton Plains, N.J.) and sophomore Preston Kelly (Orange, Calif.) are also solid at the position. Senior David Jung (Edgemont, N.J.) and sophomore Tyler Hightower (Darby, Pa.) give the Bantams a strong rotation at nose tackle.

Cde Baca and junior Rob Gau (Westport, Conn.) are as good a pair of inside linebackers as any in the league, and both have been regulars in each of the last two years. Cde Baca had 35 tackles and tied for the team lead with eight tackles for loss, while Gau helps the team in a variety of ways having notched 39 tackles, six tackles for loss, and three pass breakups as a sophomore. Junior OLB and Pre-Season All-American Honorable Mention selection Tom Szymanski (Dracut, Mass.) is a force on one side of the defense, and senior Michael Weatherby (Atlantic City, N.J.) is in his third year as a starter on the other side. Szymanski, All-NESCAC First Teamer last year, is Trinity's top returning tackler with 42 hits and 4.5 tackles for loss in 2012.  Several young players will compete for playing time.

In the secondary, three multiple-year regulars were lost to graduation including 2013 NESCAC Player of the Year and All American Rae Haynes and Defensive MVP Julian Brown at the safety positions. Senior CB Akeem Labitue (Dorchester, Mass.) is an exciting and opportunistic veteran at one corner, while junior CB's Joe Diaz (Monroe, Conn.) and Brian Dones (Philadelphia, Pa.) and sophomore Paul McCarthy (North Attleboro, Mass.) all have the ability to start as well. Junior Mike Mancini (Rocky Hill, Conn.), who was fourth on the squad with 41 tackles (26 solo) last season, has started a number of games the last two seasons.  Senior Brendan Bader (Brookfield, Conn.) and junior Casey Tanner (Wellesley, Mass.) are the top candidates at the strong safety position and will compete with a number of talented young players. Sophomore Kyle Pulek (Cheshire, Conn.) was an All-NESCAC honoree at punter in his first season and will look to add the placekicking duties to his responsibilities with the graduation of Tim Costello.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
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7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
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