2012 Football Preview
Last season, Coast Guard lost five games by seven points or less, four of those in the final minute. Head coach Bill George, in his 14th season, returns 16 starters from that team, seven on offense and nine on defense, however last year is in the past and George is looking forward to the new season and the group of experienced players that will lead the Bears in 2012, the last season of the New England Football Conference's (NEFC) current two division set up.
"This is a new season and we are not going to look back at missed opportunites in the past," said George. "This is a new season, its 2012 and we are going to continue to build on the competitive team that we put on the field last year, be a better team with the experienced players that we return and get over the hump and close out games."
Coast Guard welcomes back nine starters on offense, including four offensive linemen. Seniors Mike Rauch (LT) and Jacob Bibb (RT) return at the tackle spots while classmate Jed Daleiden is back at center and junior Mike Vitrano returns at right guard while senior Geddy Miller also has game experience and will battle for a starting spot.
"The nucleus of our team will be the returning offensive linemen, who have all worked very hard in the offseason," said George.
Senior Jon Resch, who made five starts in 2010 and served as the backup last season, will start at quarterback. Resch was 35 of 68 for 391 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions last season. Junior Aaron Corn will serve as the backup.
"I am counting on Jon Resch to be the offensive leader and to put in a solid performance each week," said George. "He is a veteran quarterback with plenty of game experience."
Junior Tyler Hames had a break out year last season and is back at running back. He led the team with 683 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns last season while also catching 32 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Jake Wawrzyniak will also get some carries in the backfield.
With the success of Hames in the backfield, senior Pat Meggers makes the move from running back to his natural position of wide receiver and will be joined by sophomores Collis Brown, who had 18 receptions for 223 yards and a touchdown last season and sophomore Blake Thompson as starting receivers. Junior Alex Oswald, has worked very hard and developed himself into a solid receiver that will see plenty of action this season.
Thompson and Wawrzyniak will also be used to return kicks as each had ten kick returns with over an 18 yard average a year ago.
Senior co-captain Casey Paris (7 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TD) will start at tight end for the fourth straight season. He is an exceptional blocker and receiver and one of the top tight ends in the region.
The Bears return nine players on defense and the key will be to keep them healthy as last season. "We need to stay healthy, last year we would have someone come back from an injury and another one would get hurt, we couldn't get all of our starters on the field at the same time," said George.
Senior co-captain Curt Barrett and senior Parker Bateson will anchor the experienced linebacker core which includes senior Max Walker, junior Nick Phillips (24 tackles) and sophomore Victor Rizzardi (41 tackles). Barrett led the team with 65 tackles, 36 solo, 11.5 for loss and three sacks last season while Bateson was second with 57 tackles, 31 of those solo.
Up front, senior John Manganiello, an NEFC Bogan Division first team selection last season, leads the defensive line from his nose guard spot. He had 47 tackles, 25 solo, 5.5 for loss and a sack last season. He will joined on the line by defensive ends sophomore Kevin Postiglione, who came on strong late last season and senior Steve Lozier, who made seven starts last season.
The Bears return all four talented veterans in the secondary led by second team All-Bogan Division senior cornerback Drew Russo. Senior Mark Bonner will start at the other corner spot while senior Dante Adams is back at strong safety and junior Evan Rothfeld returns at free safety. Rothfeld led the team with three interceptions last season while Russo had a pair of interceptions.
Sophomore newcomer Joe Kelly is expected to handle the punting duties while junior Jake Schroeder and freshman Tyler Henning will battle for the placekicking duties.
The Bears, who were 2-7 overall and 2-5 in the NEFC Bogan Division last season, will compete in the Bogan Division for the final time as Bridgewater State, Fitchburg State, Framingham State, Mass. Maritime, Westfield State, Worcester State will all leave the NEFC with Boyd Division teams Plymouth and UMass Dartmouth.
Next year the NEFC will be an eight-team league consisting of Coast Guard, Curry, Endicott, Maine Maritime, MIT, Nichols, Salve Regina and Western New England.
"We are excited to start off the season at home with a big game against the Merchant Marine Academy for the Secretaries' Cup which is always an outstanding game, before meeting MIT for the first time," said George. "We are also looking forward to playing the traditional rivalries that we have established with the Massachusetts state schools one final time before they leave the conference."