Washington and Lee Heads Football Poll
Hampden-Sydney, Bridgewater Round Out Top Three
FOREST, Va. --- Washington and Lee University
received five first place votes and 35 total points as the Generals
were picked atop the 2011 ODAC Football Preseason Poll.
Fellow 2010 NCAA Division III Tournament qualifier, Hampden-Sydney
College, sits second with 31 tallies and one top nod.
Bridgewater College also received a first place vote on the way to
25 points and the third position in the annual coaches’
Both W&L and H-SC participated in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, giving the ODAC two representatives in the field of 32 for the first time since the 2000 season (Bridgewater and Emory & Henry College). Their stays in the foray were shorter than preferred with both exiting in the first round to Thomas More College and Montclair State University, respectively.
Click HERE to view the ODAC Football "Virtual" Media Guide.
The Generals (8-3 overall, 6-0 ODAC in 2010) captured the program’s fourth ODAC title and first since 2006 with an overpowering ground attack and steadily improving defense throughout the campaign. W&L set several ODAC single-season rushing records along the way, including carries (651), yards (3,955) and touchdowns (43). The Generals rushed for 400 or more yards in a game six times, including a string of five-straight games in the middle of the conference season. All told, W&L averaged 438.8 yards per game and set a school record with an average of 35.3 points per game. Four starters return (of 17 overall) to the offensive line, including D3football.com Preseason All-American, John Fitzgibbons. He’ll be blocking for junior backs Luke Heinsohn (1,321 yds, 13 TDs) and Brett Murray (738 yds, 9 TDs). Charlie Westfal is back calling the signals for a fourth straight year. He had his best throwing season (51-of-102, 818 yds, 11 TDs), while also proving dangerous with his legs (523 yds, 7 TDs). The defense will be led by Sporting News Preseason All-American safety, Jake Pelton (82 tackles) and his defensive backfield mate, John Kavanaugh (43 tackles, 4 INTs).
Hampden-Sydney (9-2, 6-1) returns All-ODAC First Team quarterback Travis Lane (272-420, 3,338 yds, 28 TDs, 18 INTs) from the conference’s top passing attack in 2010. He’ll have plenty of weapons at his disposal, including his top two receivers in Kyle Vance and Sean Cavanagh. The All-ODAC pair hauled in a combined 144 passes for 2,127 yards and 14 touchdowns. Running back Kirk Rohle returns to the gridiron following an injury plagued season that caused him to miss most of 2010. He led the ODAC in scoring (106 points) in 2009. The biggest challenge for the Tigers this season will be replacing all but three defensive starters. Steven Fogleman (91 tackles, 1 INT) will be asked to improve upon his All-ODAC Second Team performance from 2010 as he looks to lead a young unit.
Bridgewater (8-2, 4-2) is a mix of new and old this season, but must replace two important pieces from a season ago in quarterback Hagan Driskell and All-American wide receiver Tyler Beiler. Running back Darrin McKenzie (928 yds, 9 TDs) looks to pick up the slack after emerging as the lead rusher midway through last year. Senior Jacob Hutchinson and junior Carlos Gonzalez (7-of-13, 78 yds, 2 TDs) will get the first opportunities behind center. Defensively, the Eagles will be led by All-ODAC linemen Dominic Jeter (43 tackles, 9.5 sacks), Stephen Howard (39 tackles, 5.5 sacks) and Joel Francis (40 tackles, 4.5 sacks).
Randolph-Macon College (7-3, 3-3) boasted the ODAC’s No. 1 scoring offense at 41.6 points per game with a balanced approach. The two-pronged rushing attack of junior Drake Sanders (818 yds, 11 TDs) and senior Thaddeus Scruggs (818 yds, 13 TDs) look to lead the offense this season while sophomore Greg Petrovich gets the first crack behind center. Defensively, All-ODAC linebacker Jeremy Bowry (55 tackles) leads a unit that features a pair of all-conference defensive backs in juniors Brandon Harrison (28 tackles, 3 INTs) and Billy Knarr (34 tackles, 2 PBUs). Senior Joe Pricone (31 tackles, 9 TFLs) leads the defensive front.
Emory & Henry College (5-5, 1-5) must replace the talents of multi-All-ODAC rusher Caleb Jennings. Quarterback Dustin Beck (167-of-268, 1,753 yds, 10 TDs, 8 INTs) showed he was dangerous both throwing and running (244 yds, 5 TDs). Receiver Preston Jennings (53 rec, 492 yds) returns as his top target. Defensively, the Wasps will benefit from the return of 2009 All-ODAC linebacker Ed Smith (78 tackles, 4.5 sacks) after missing all of 2010. Second team choices defensive back Daniel Woods (46 tackles, 4 INTS) and defensive end Daniel Preston (72 tackles, 4 sacks) also head back to Emory.
Catholic (4-6, 2-4) returns several young but experienced players on offense, including a pair of juniors in big play receiver Alonzo Cooke (47 rec, 856 yds, 10 TDs) and quarterback Greg Cordivari (195-of-342, 2,205 yds, 20 TDs, 10 INTs). Reigning All-ODAC Rookie of the Year, running back Mike Pitsenberger (901 yds, 6 TDs) looks to carry the load in the Cardinals rushing attack. Dynamic return man Andrew Ouellette is also back after leading the ODAC with 931 kick-off return yards for a 29.5 yard per return average.
Guilford (0-10, 0-6) is under the leadership of new head coach Chris Rusiewicz, who spent the past seven years (of nine total) running Ursinus College’s defense and special teams. The Quakers’ defense will be lead by All-ODAC senior Chris Jessup (83 tackles, 4 sacks), who moves from his linebacker spot to end in Coach Rusiewicz’s 4-2-5 system. Senior Kenneth Hyman (40 tackles, 1 INT) and sophomore Quan Parker (23 tackles, 1 INT) lead a deep defensive backfield. The offense is led by junior receiver Ben King, who hauled in 78 passes for 1,055 yards and nine touchdowns.
The 2011 football season begins on Saturday, September 3, with each of the ODAC’s seven football school’s in action. For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.
2011 ODAC FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes first place votes
|1. Washington and Lee (5)||35 pts.|
|2. Hampden-Sydney (1)||31 pts.|
|3. Bridgewater (1)||25 pts.|
|4. Randolph-Macon||21 pts.|
|5. Emory & Henry||15 pts.|
|6. Catholic||14 pts.|
|7. Guilford||6 pts.|
UPDATE PENDING: Check back for an update to this release on the Internet. Audio clips of the 2011 ODAC Football Media Day (slated for Friday, July 29) will be added to provide further insight into the 2011 campaign!