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Pioneers Football Looks to Take Next Step

Pioneers Football Looks to Take Next Step

The 2010 Alfred State College football team will have feature new faces, a redesigned schedule, and a new look as they hope to climb above .500 for the first time since the 2006 season.

Head Coach Mick Caba (11th season, 45-54) begins his second decade at the helm of the program with high hopes even though he returns just ten players from last year’s team and has just 17 players with college playing experiences (two players from the 2008 team return and five transfers).

Coach Caba and his veteran coaching staff are excited about the prospect of the 2010 squad.  “We are approaching the season with a quiet but strong confidence.  We are excited as we have a tremendously talented core of returning players, a surprising number of talented transfers along with a great freshman class.  Our guys have shown a great work ethic from the day they have stepped on campus for preseason.”

Sir Aaron Taylor (West Chester/Lincoln Hall) did a little of everything last year for the blue & gold.  He recorded 52 tackles and picked off three passes, passed for 423 yards and four scores, rushed for 250 yards and three scores, and even averaged 32.2 yards in 14 punts.  This season Caba hopes to leave Taylor at the free safety position to anchor the Pioneer defense.

Joining Taylor on the defensive side of the ball will be playmakers, Kyle Ricks (Alexandria, VA/Mt. Vernon), Chadd Parker (Erie, PA/Fort Leboeuf), and Damion King Jr. (Detroit, MI/Madison Heights).  Ricks and Parker tied for 2nd on the team with 61 tackles last season from their linebacker position while King, a 2nd team All-NFC selection, recorded 53 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions in 2008.  Nicholas DePofi (Endicott/Union Endicott) also returns after recording 41 tackles.

The coaching staff is looking for Dean College transfer Justin Smith (Richmond, VA/CD Hylton) and Lake Erie College Brett Harrington (Rochester/Edison) to be key contributors to the defense along with freshmen Issac Spike (Hornell/Hornell), TC Carroll (Bath/Bath Haverling), and Rory Spain (Tully/Tully Central).

Running back Xavier Makell (Baltimore, MD/Forest Park) returns from last year’s squad while wide receiver Josh Griffin (Englewood, NJ/Dwight Morrow) is back from the ’08 season.  Makell led the Pioneers with 569 yards rushing (4.6 yards per carry) and three scores.  Griffin caught 32 passes, 10 for scores, for 622 yards on his way to being named 2nd team All-NFC.

Twins Drew and Wade Hammond (Walton/Walton) return to anchor the offensive line in front of the transfer quarterback duo of Cody Scepaniak (Vestal/Vestal) and Gregory Hampton (Uniondale/Uniondale).  Scepaniak transferred to ASC last winter after spending last football season at Lackawanna while Hampton transfers in from NCAA Division II Cheyney University.

Dejon Young (Erie, PA/McDowell) and Caleb Meroski (Lake George/Lake George) will add size join Makell in the backfield while freshmen Sheldon Waller (Baltimore, MD/Baltimore City College) and Kurtis Breese (Duke Center, PA/Otto-Eldred) will compete for playing time with Griffin at the wide receiver position.

Kicker Josh Franchina (Gerry/Cassadaga Valley) also returns and is joined by newcomer Colter Johnson (Warren, PA/Warren Area).  Johnson will handle the punting duties.

The 2010 schedule features three new opponents on top of seven familiar opponents.  The Pioneers will take the field vs. the Apprentice School (Newport News, VA) on Sept. 4th to open the season, new Northeast Football Conference member ASA Institute (Brooklyn, NY) on Oct. 1, and take on probationary NFC member Louisburg College (Louisburg, NC) to wrap up the season on Nov. 13.  Also included in the schedule is non-conference games with Hartwick JV (Sept. 12) and Buffalo State (Sept. 27).  The NFC schedule includes home games vs. Erie CC (homecoming 2010 – Sept. 18), Hudson Valley CC (Oct. 16), and Nassau CC (Nov. 6) and road games at Lackawanna College (Oct. 23) and Dean College (Oct. 30).

Alfred State will also sport new look helmets when they take the field as the college has adopted an athletic mark.  The athletic mark will be dominant in the helmet and replace the Michigan style helmets of the past nine seasons.

“As the season progresses, if we can develop good team chemistry and avoid major injuries, we will surprise a lot of people.  This team has set some lofty goals for themselves.”

Caba and his team will look to start reaching towards their goals on September 4th when they take on the Apprentice School.  The season opener with be Caba’s 100th career game at Alfred State.