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Football seeks to follow up big season

by Paul Cifonelli - Contributing Writer
Tue, Sep 4th 2018 10:00 pm
The College at Brockport football team (above) scrimmages during its 15 day camp.  The preseason camp mainly focused on reviewing fundamentals, boosting team chemistry and getting the players back into shape to endure the grueling regular season.
The College at Brockport football team (above) scrimmages during its 15 day camp. The preseason camp mainly focused on reviewing fundamentals, boosting team chemistry and getting the players back into shape to endure the grueling regular season.

Brockport’s 2017 football season speaks for itself. A perfect 10 — 0 in the regular season, with the lowest margin of victory being a 10 point win over Alfred State, and a run to the national semifinals before meeting national powerhouse Mary Hardin Baylor.   

There were four All-Americans on that team, as well as 13 first team All-Empire 8 performers, to go along with six second team performers and one player on the honorable mention team. Also, Brockport took home Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Coaching Staff of the Year.

However, none of that matters anymore. The new year brings around a different set of expectations surrounding this team.         Despite the fact that nobody, including star quarterback Joe Germinerio, is looking past winning a conference championship, everyone knows that anything other than a return to the national semifinals would be considered a disappointment. 

However, Germinerio is keeping his eyes set on a repeat as Empire 8 champions. 

“We’re looking for a conference championship first and foremost. And then we are looking for another deep playoff run like we had last year,” Germinerio said.

Repeating as conference champions will be no small task. Cortland State and Alfred State provide tough competition and are typically two of the strongest teams in the conference. Also, the Courage Bowl against St. John Fisher gives the rivalry game atmosphere that is prime for an upset. A non-conference game at Ithaca could also prove to be tricky, as SUNY Ithaca is usually a powerhouse.

However, if any team is built for this tough schedule, it’s Brockport. The players have refocused themselves and they are ready to make room for themselves in the history books. 

“We were hunting last year and now we’re being hunted and we’ve got to defend our nest,”  senior offensive lineman Josh Kuliszewski said.

Defending home field is something that was a strong suit for last year’s team, with a 7 — 0 record at home. The Golden Eagles also outscored opponents 302-74 at Bob Boozer Field last year. With half of the games scheduled to be at home, defending the nest will be a priority, and a necessity for capturing the conference crown.

For as much press as the offense got last year for lighting up scoreboards all over the east coast, the defense was particularly staunch. The group averaged to allow 14.1 points per game and, at one point last season, went nine consecutive quarters without allowing any points. This unit is returning nine of the 11 starters from last year’s team. Among those returners is first team All-American Jake O’Connell.

The offense, however, cannot go unmentioned. The group put up 37 points per game and returns many key skill players including Germinerio, running back Justin Morrison and wide receivers Joseph Ortiz, Tyree Brown and DaQuan Hubbard. The offensive line graduated four of the five starters, but there has been healthy competition for the positions that are available.

Brockport’s first home game ended in a 56-7 win against Hobart on Saturday, September 1. The next game for the Golden Eagles will be on, Sept. 8 at SUNY Ithaca, with the next home game being Sept. 15 against St. Lawrence. Senior Day will be on Nov. 3 against Cortland State.

 

pcifo1@brockport.edu

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