Anthony Wilga sporting new colors this year
More photos follow
Text And Photos By Steev Riccardo
Hello Sports Fans!
Second year Head Football Coach Kevin Loney and the Nichols Bison are going into this season looking to do something that didn’t happen all last season, they would like to win a game.
With an opening day battle at Westfield State happening on Saturday September 1, the Bison have been working hard to get ready to turn a program around that has struggled and has not had a winning season since 2003. In fact they haven’t even hit .500 since they went 5-5 in 2007. It has been a tough road as of late, but that looks like it may be about to change.
There is a good feeling in the air at Nichols and with Loney and his coaches instilling a positive attitude into his young team, wins could be coming soon. They certainly have the talent.
The team has a bunch of pretty good players returning from last year’s squad, including senior linebacker Peter Curto, right tackle Joe Richardson, who is 6’8” 330 pounds (after losing 30 pounds), speedy wide receiver Joe Lambert, quarterback Jacob Shoup (10 TD’s), and center Neil Raddu, who missed all of last year with an injury but looks to anchor the offensive line this season.
The team also has some intriguing newcomers including former Bay Path graduated and WWE wrestler 26-year-old tight end Ken Doane, who enrolled in college as a freshman and has impressed Loney with his toughness. Pro wrestling fans may remember Doane from when he wrestled under the moniker Kenny Dykstra.
Another newcomer is former Shepherd Hill star Anthony Wilga, who gives the team more versatility and toughness at fullback. Wilga had 13 touchdowns and 800 yards in his senior season for the Rams last year.
Wilga, along with freshmen Lucien Cance, will be part of a talented group of power backs, which also includes sophomores Jonathan Winbush and Brett Franciosi, both of whom Loney spoke highly of.
“We have a bunch of great young backs, everyone of them can play, I don’t know how we are going to get them all the ball. It’s a great problem to have. In an ara where fullbacks are passé we have some great fullbacks,” said Loney.
The Bison also have high expectations for a pair of returning halfbacks in Felipe Njeim and Chris Gallego who will play key roles in the backfield.
The team looked good scrimmaging last Saturday when guys making plays on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively we are a little bit ahead because these guys have all played together for a year and we are still trying to put the offensive together,” said Loney. “I think we are lot closer than we were last year. We are going to continue to take it one day at a time.”
Speaking of last season Loney showed his team the film of their tough 21-20 loss to Westfield State last season and told the team how the outcome could have been very different.
“Our kids saw how many mistakes we actually made. If you lose a game by single digits that means somewhere in the game you had a chance to win it,” said Loney, “All the scores they got, we gave them help.”
Westfield State squeezed out that win in a game that saw Curto recover a fumble and run it back 95 yards for a touchdown on one of the most exciting plays of the season. However, before the celebration was even over, the extra point was blocked and the Bison suffered a heartbreaking loss.
Loney is confident about the opener at Westfield. “We know they are a really good team, I think they had a great off season, but we think we are better, its going to be a great game.”
The Bison play their home opener Friday September 7 against Framingham State with a strong schedule that includes games against Plymouth State, MIT, Endicott, and Salve Regina.
Bison defensive coach Will Blanden gives instruction
Quarterback Jacob Shoup needs to have a big season
- Wednesday, 22 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : View from the Sidelines