The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Regional FCS Team Capsules
Coach: Kevin Kelly (seventh year)
Last season: 8–3 (3–2 Patriot League)
Key players: Sr. QB Isaiah Kempf, So. OL Mike Roland, Sr. LB Robert McCabe, Sr. KR Jeremy Moore, Robert McCabe,
Outlook: Two years after going 0–11, the Hoyas posted their best season in a decade and, with 17 starters back, have hopes of winning the Patriot League and earning their first NCAA playoff berth. McCabe is the Patriot League preseason defensive player of the year, and Kempf has won the QB job after splitting time with Scott Darby last year.
Coach: Donovan Rose (fourth year)
Last season: 7–4 (5–3 MEAC)
Key players: Jr. RB Antwon Chisholm, So. QB Travis Champion, Sr. WR Javaris Brown, LB Delbert Tyler, LB Lyndell Gibson, Sr. CB Justin Blake
Outlook: The Pirates will hang their hats on a solid defense that returns its top five tacklers from a year ago. LBs Tyler and Gibson (a transfer from Virginia Tech)
each had over 100 stops last year. Chisholm rushed for 796 yards and eight TDs in 2011.
Coach: Gary Harrell (second year)
Last season: 5–6 (3–3 MEAC)
Key players: Sr. LB Keith Pough, Sr. C Bradley Bush–Johnson, So. QB Greg McGhee
Outlook: The Bison improved by four wins from 2010, but a cloud hangs over the 2012 season, thanks to an NCAA investigation into alleged improper textbook distribution. Several key players could be suspended for up to three games, including QB McGhee (the 2011 MEAC rookie of the year) and LB Pough (the 2012 MEAC preseason defensive player of the year).
Coach: Mickey Matthews (14th year)
Last season: 8–5 (5–3 CAA)
Key players: Sr. QB Justin Thorpe, Sr. RB Dae’Quon Scott, Sr. TE Brian Barolow, Sr. G Earl Watford, Jr. LB Stephon Robertson, Sr. S Jakarie Jackson, So. S Dean Marlowe
Outlook: Ranked eighth in the preseason FCS coaches’ poll, the Dukes hope to unseat reigning CAA champion Towson. They should be explosive on offense, with Scott (1.304 rushing yards, 12 TDs) leading the way. Robertson (113 tackles) leads the defense.
Coach: Turner Gill (first year)
Last season: 7–4 (5–1 Big South)
Key players: Sr. OL Malcolm Boyd, Sr. WR Pat Kelly, Sr. OL Aaron Lundy, So. LB Nick Sigmon, Jr. DB Walt Allens
Outlook: Gill has big plans for the Flames, who are seeking to move up to FBS status. A good first step would be the school’s first-ever NCAA playoff berth. A key is finding a QB to replace former conference player of the year Michael Brown (now a WR with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars). Former Brooke Point star Brian Hudson is battling redshirt freshman Josh Woodrum for the job.
Coach: Pete Adrian (eighth year)
Last season: 9–3 (7–1 MEAC)
Key players: Sr. WR Xavier Boyce, Sr. C Michael Kay, Sr. T Blake Matthews, Sr. LB Terrence Pugh and Sr. LB Jamal Giddens, Sr. K Everett Goldberg
Outlook: The Spartans are favored to repeat as MEAC champions after winning their first title last year. Eight offensive starters are back, including all-MEAC WR Boyce (68 catches). Nico Flores and Jake Basmagian are battling for the QB job. Goldberg kicked three field goals of at least 50 yards in 2011. Giddens and Goldberg are among just four returning defensive starters.
Coach: Bobby Wilder (fourth year)
Last season: 10–2 (6–2 CAA)
Key players: So. QB Taylor Heinicke, Sr. WR Nick Mayers, Sr. DT Chris Burnette, Sr. LB Craig Wilkins, Sr. P Jonathan Plisco
Outlook: The Monarchs are ineligible for the CAA title, since they’re moving up to FBS status and joining Conference USA next year. But they’d like to unofficially win the league and earn an NCAA playoff at-large bid. Heinicke threw 25 TD passes and just one interception as a freshman. Burnette and Craig Wilkins are preseason all-CAA defenders, and Plisco may be the nation’s best punter.
Coach: Danny Rocco (first year)
Last season: 3–8 (0–8 CAA)
Key players: Sr. QB John Laub, Sr. FB Kendall Gaskins, So. LT Jacob Ruby, Jr. DE Kerry Wynn, Sr. LB Darius McMillan, Sr. DB Cooper Taylor
Outlook: Rocco, the Spiders’ fourth coach in four years, faces a mighty rebuilding effort. Former coach Latrell Scott was suspended after a preseason DUI arrest, and the 2011 season unraveled quickly. The defense is solid, led by McMillan (133 tackles) and Taylor, but the offense needs to mature quickly in the rugged CAA.
Coach: Sparky Woods (fifth year)
Last season: 2–9 (2–4 Big South)
Key players: Jr. QB Eric Kordenbrock, Sr. WR Stefawn Ross, Jr. OL Robert Collins, Sr. DL Shawn Chapman, Sr. DL Charlie Jones, Sr. DB Michael Johnson
Outlook: It’s been 31 years since the Keydets finished with a winning record, and this doesn’t look like the year to buck that trend. QB Kordenbrock will operate behind four new blockers and with two new RBs. Jones (11 tackles for loss) leads the defense.
WILLIAM & MARY
Coach: Jimmye Laycock (33rd year)
Last season: 5–6 (3–5 CAA)
Key players: Jr. QB Brent Caprio, WR Brian Moody, Sr. CB B.W. Webb, Sr. LB Dante Cook, Sr. LB Jabrel Mines, Sr. S Brian Thompson
Outlook: There’s uncertainty on offense, where Caprio won a three-man QB battle. He won’t have the school’s career rushing leader, Jonathan Grimes, as a safety net. Former local standouts Cook (Stafford) and Mines (Caroline) lead a solid defense along with All-American candidate Webb at corner.