All five area squads play quarterback shuffle Hopes pinned on arms of replacements

Division II-III preview

August 30, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Each of the five non-Division I schools in the area with football will be sending out a quarterback this fall who wasn't starting by the end of last season. And not by choice.

That's a chilling thought at Western Maryland, which must replace record-setting Brian Van Deusen. But the feelings are no warmer at Salisbury State, which was thrust into the playoffs last year by the right arm of David Doy. Or Bowie State, where Darrell Foote broke his own school single-season record for passing yards.

And check out the mad scramble taking place at Johns Hopkins, which must fill the cleats of both Dan Redziniak and his backup, Jim Guzzo.

Only Frostburg State seemed to be spared the auditions, but Dominic Novak, who started the last six games, walked off the team Monday. Suddenly, the Bobcats were in the same predicament.

Bowie State

Coaches in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association have picked Bowie State to finish seventh in the 10-team league, where it ended the 1995 season. But they also chose junior free safety Malik James (Poly) to the preseason all-conference team after he led Bulldogs defensive backs last year with three interceptions, eight pass breakups, 53 tackles and a fumble recovery..

Bowie won three games last year. Seven starters are back on offense, but Foote and receivers Thomas Destry and Lamont Connor aren't among them. Destry broke a 20-year-old school record with 605 receiving yards. Sophomore running back Topper Ellis, the Bulldogs' leading rusher with 388 yards, also won't be returning.

Sophomore Ryan Pigford, who started four games last year, is the top returning rusher with 314 yards and four touchdowns. Senior tight end Alex Harris had 17 receptions for 264 yards. The offensive line is intact and will try to protect fifth-year senior Delmar Glanton, who played in eight games as a freshman, sat out the next season because of injury, and appeared in six games total as a junior and senior.

The defense lost five starters, but defensive end Shamar Foster, the Bulldogs' leader in tackles (83), sacks (seven) and fumble recoveries (three) and a member of the CIAA's All-Rookie team, should be around for a while. The same is true of linebacker Lorenzo Carter (63 tackles, three sacks), who also made the All-Rookie squad.

Frostburg State

It's a new era at Frostburg, with former Dickinson (Pa.) College and Colgate coach Ed Sweeney replacing Mike McGlinchey. Sweeney (56-23-3 at Dickinson) inherits a team with 15 starters back, the most notable being three College Football Preview preseason All-Americans: senior tailback E.J. Fuller, junior defensive end Yinka Olarinde and senior defensive back Ron Wallace (City).

Wallace led the Bobcats, who went 6-4 last year and were ranked nationally in Division III in pass defense, in pass breakups (17) and interceptions (six). In all, Frostburg's eight leading tacklers are back.

Fuller averaged 6.2 yards a carry and 72.8 yards a game last season. Junior fullback Brian Ball averaged 4.4 yards a carry. They may be working with a familiar quarterback in junior Gavin Palumbo, who started the first four games before giving way to Novak. Two freshmen, Billy Jackson and Jason Henry, are battling Palumbo.

Whoever wins the job won't have wide-out Germaine Norman (30 receptions) to throw to anymore, leaving Fuller as the top returning receiver with just five catches. But four starters return to the offensive line.

Johns Hopkins

The Blue Jays lost their opener to Fairleigh Dickinson-Madison last year on a late field goal, then ran off six consecutive wins despite an injury to Redziniak. But they closed the season with two losses and a tie, dashing any hopes of a first Centennial Conference championship and a postseason bid.

Now, Redziniak and Guzzo are gone, along with tailback/kick returner Hari Lymon (eight touchdowns), center Joe Koch, tight end Pete Lambis and strong safety Rob McGuire (team-leading 71 tackles) -- each an all-conference selection -- and linebacker Victor Carter-Bey (67 tackles, 4.5 sacks). Even so, the only real question lies at quarterback, where the lone non-freshman contending for the starting job is sophomore Mike Sabol of Mechanicsburg, Pa., who played on the junior varsity last season.

The running game again will be the focal point of the offense. Two of the three leading rushers return: senior fullback Chuck Wotkowicz (526 yards) and junior halfback Don Zajick (568 yards, seven touchdowns). They'll be working behind a line, anchored by senior all-conference tackle Damian Lavelle, that's the biggest in coach Jim Margraff's seven-year tenure, averaging about 260 pounds.

Junior Mark Guzzo averaged 16.8 yards a catch last season and returned six punts for 96 yards and a touchdown. Junior Todd Bencivenni made the all-conference team after converting 21 of 23 extra-point attempts and four field goals.

Hopkins' strength is its defensive line, with five seniors who played considerably last season..

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