Hopkins, Western Md. look for edge Frostburg, Salisbury vie in new Atlantic Central

Divisions II and III

September 02, 1998|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

While perennial power Johns Hopkins and upstart Western Maryland battle for supremacy in the Centennial Conference, Maryland's other two Division III programs -- Frostburg and Salisbury -- will try to establish themselves in the new Atlantic Central Football Conference.

"We're glad to be affiliated with a conference," said Salisbury coach Joe Rotellini, whose Sea Gulls will compete in the six-team football-only league, which also includes Wesley, Ferrum, Methodist and Chowan. "[The new league affiliation] makes it easier in regards to scheduling games and it gives our players something else to play for and adds another set of goals for us to try to achieve."

Salisbury, which competed as an independent during its first 26 football seasons, is the only Division III program in the state coming off a losing record.

Bowie State, the state's lone Division II contingent, made great strides last season but still has a long way to go before it finds itself in contention for the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title.

Here's a closer look at what the five schools have:

Bowie State

1997 record: 5-5

Coach: Sherman Wood (sixth year)

Key losses: Ray Cannon, DB; Scott Strother, TB; Corey Walker, DL; Alex Harris, TE; Terrance Williams, DL.

Top returnees: Mike Cox, Jr., DL; Ray Hawkins, Soph., KR; Tiquon Murry, Jr., WR; Arthur Moore, Jr., C; Shamar Foster, Sr., DL; Lorenzo Carter, Sr., LB; Alan Jones, Sr., LB; Ryan Pigford, Sr., RB; Nazeeh Ahmad, Sr., FB.

Top newcomers: Darnell Jeffries, Fr., WR; Robert Lee Jones, Fr., DB.

Outlook: The Bulldogs, who reached the .500 mark last season for the first time since 1989, are looking to build on their 1997 successes. "I really feel that we turned the corner last year," Wood said. "We finished well despite season-long injuries to a few key people, and with the potential of the players we have coming back, there's no telling how bright our star can shine this year." Cox, a first-team All-CIAA pick, will lead the defense while Pigford, who averaged 5.4 yards per carry last season, provides the offensive spark.

Frostburg State

1997 record: 6-3

Coach: Ed Sweeney (third year)

Key losses: Buddy Edmond, DE; Yinka Olarinde, DE; Galen Glotfelty, DT.

Top returnees: Jason Henry, Jr., QB; Greg Cooper, Jr., WR; Brandon Walker, Jr., TB; Todd Behler, Jr., RB; Matt Luik, Sr., OT; Matt Cornelius, Jr., OT; Ben Morrow, Jr., LB; Brian McElhenny, Soph., CB; Chris Sequinot, Soph., LB; William Corcoran, Sr., LB.

Top newcomers: Tim Kelly, Jr., DT; Derek Kirk, Fr., DB.

Outlook: With Henry back at the helm and Cooper, Henry's favorite target, back at receiver, the Bobcats are looking to air it out again this fall. Henry threw for 1,252 yards last season with 773 of them credited to Cooper. Behler and sophomore fullback Richie Juergensen, two players who sat out last season with injuries, are back and poised to bolster Frostburg's ground attack. "We'll have good balance on offense," said Sweeney, whose defense was nationally ranked in three categories last season. "We have a nice group of returning players and great talent at the skill positions."

Johns Hopkins

1997 record: 7-3

Coach: Jim Margraff (ninth year)

Key losses: Mike Albert, LB; Carl Cangelosi, LB; Greg Degl, LB; Barclay Surrick, CB; Todd Bencivenni, K; Don Cajick, TB; Tige Seaburg, DL.

Top returnees: Larry Gulotta, Sr., DL; Adam Gentile, Jr., RB; David Perna, Jr., OL; Sam Skinner, Jr., WR; Harrison Bernstein, Jr., SS; Andrew Bainbridge, Sr., LB.

Top newcomers: Brian Barbetto, Fr., K; Cameron Welch, Fr., OL; Kris Derwin, Fr., DB; Marc Della Pia, Fr., LB.

Outlook: The Blue Jays, who own a Centennial Conference best 20-9-1 record over the past three seasons, return 11 starters from last year's team that tied a school record for wins in a season (7). Gentile, a GTE District II Academic All-American last year, returns after rushing for 675 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns in 1997. Hopkins' strength will be its secondary, headlined by Bernstein, who was named Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season after leading the Blue Jays with 75 tackles. "It's harder to improve and take the next step when you are doing well," Margraff said. "The expectations for success have grown and we have to find out if we can handle those expectations."

Salisbury State

1997 record: 3-6

Coach: Joe Rotellini (ninth year)

Key losses: Mac James, RB; George Mayer, K; Travis Royall, FS; Mike Brouthers, DT.

Top returnees: Matt Main, Soph., QB; Khalid Attia, Soph., DE; Tony Hill, Sr., CB; Rob Howes, Sr., SS; Brian Doyle, Sr., WR; Jamal Avery, Soph., WR; Seth Haskins, Soph., CB; Scott MacRobbie, Sr., LB; Myron Dent, Jr., RB.

Top newcomers: Tony Ellis, Fr., RB; Haki Lee, Fr., RB; Jared McCutchen, Fr., QB; Michael Sheehan, Jr., DT; Ryan Lambert, Fr., WR; Du'Juan Wilson, Fr., DB; Chris Morandi, Fr., DL.

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