Valparaiso (0-0, 0-0 PFL)
Game #1: Saturday, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. CDT
vs. Franklin (0-0, 0-0 HCAC)
Brown Field (5,000 - ProGrass) - Valparaiso, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Football: The 2011 football season kicks off on Saturday evening at Brown Field in Valparaiso as the Crusaders take on instate foe Franklin under the lights. The season opener is also part of Communiversity Day on the Valpo campus, with a wide variety of activities taking place leading up to kickoff between the Crusaders and Grizzlies.
On the Air: For the seventh straight season the Valpo Sports Radio Network will be home to all 11 Crusader football games in 2010. The Valpo Sports Radio Network consists of WAKE (1500-AM, Valparaiso), which will carry every game all season long along with WJOB (1230-AM, Hammond), which will carry select games, including this Saturday’s contest against the Grizzlies. Todd Ickow will handle all the play-by-play with Keaton Gilogly adding the color commentary this week. The game can also be heard live online at www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats will also be available for the game through www.valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Dale Carlson: Dale Carlson is 0-11 in his second season with the Crusaders and 110-114-3 overall entering his 23rd season as a collegiate head coach. He arrived at Valpo from Ohio Dominican where he began the Ohio Dominican program from scratch in 2004, just as he did at Tri-State University prior to his tenure with the Panthers. He is the 16th head coach in Valpo history, and just the seventh since 1946.
Series Notes: Franklin leads the all-time series 11-3 between the two Indiana foes. The two schools were members of the Heartland Collegiate Conference together for 12 seasons during the 1970s and 1980s. The Grizzlies have won the last four meetings between the two schools, including a 42-7 win at Franklin on Sept. 11 of last season. Valpo’s last win in the series came at Franklin, 41-14, on Sept. 27, 1986.
Wrapping Up 2010: Valpo looks to put the 2010 campaign in the past as the Crusaders finished the year 0-11 overall and 0-8 in the Pioneer Football League. This year more than 40 letterwinners return to the squad, including six starters on each side of the football.
Scouting Franklin: The Grizzlies finished 9-2 and earned a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs last year before falling to Wisconsin-Whitewater, the eventual national champion, in the first round. Franklin won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with a perfect 8-0 record and have been predicted to win the title again this season. The Grizzlies are ranked #24 in the nation in the preseason D3football.com poll. David O’Rourke is Franklin’s top returning tackler with 53 stops last year while Zack Corpe had eight interceptions. Offensively, Reece Craig rushed 118 times for 631 yards while Mitch Deffner had 36 catches for 562 yards while Kyle Linville had 31 grabs for 665 yards.
Valpo in Season Openers: The Crusaders are 46-41-3 (.528) all-time in season openers, but has dropped the first game of the year each of the last three seasons. Last year Valpo fell 45-0 at Western Illinois on Sept. 2. Valpo’s last season-opening triumph came Sept. 1, 2007, a 28-21 victory over Saint Francis (Ill.).
Opening at Home a Rare Occurrence of Late: Valpo is opening the season at home for just the second time since 2002, the other being the 2007 victory over Saint Francis (Ill.). The Crusaders are 23-23-1 all-time when opening the year at home, and has posted a 48-40-2 mark all-time in their home openers.
Saturday Marks Second Annual Communiversity Day: The season opener against Franklin wraps up a full afternoon of Communiversity Day activities on the Valparaiso University campus. The day also includes the Marriott Volley Brawl, a home volleyball tournament with five matches slated for the day, a tailgate complete with a barbeque dinner, and a fun-filled carnival atmosphere. A fireworks display will cap the night’s activities.
Six All-League Selections Return: First Team All-Pioneer Football League punter Greg Wood returns for his junior season after setting a school record averaging 43.6 yards per kick last year. He finished third in all of NCAA I-FCS in punting, and had 14 boots of 50 yards or more, including a career best 71-yard effort. Wide receiver Sean McCarty, center Ferdinand Velez, and left tackle Nate Blair all were named Honorable Mention All-PFL a year ago from the offense and return for 2011. On the defensive side of the football, defensive linemen Brian Plachinski and Grant Bushong, along with linebacker Cody Gokan return after earning Honorable Mention All-PFL accolades in 2010.
Welcome Back: Laurence Treadaway returns to the field for his fifth year in a Crusader uniform after missing all of 2010 with an injury. He joins Bobby Wysocki and Sean McCarty as the only five year players on the Valpo roster this season.
Team Captains: Valpo will have tri-captains for the 2011 season. Fifth-year senior defensive back Laurence Treadaway and senior defensive lineman Grant Bushong will represent the defense while senior center Ferdinand Velez represents the offense.
Crusaders Picked 10th in Preseason Poll: The head coaches selected Valparaiso to finish 10th in the Pioneer Football League this season according to the preseason poll. The prognosticators selected Jacksonville to take home the 2011 championship.
This and That: Bobby Wysocki is Valpo’s active career rushing and passing leader with 490 and 860 yards respectively ... Sean McCarty leads all active receivers with 59 career catches for 766 yards ... Cody Gokan is Valpo’s top active tackler with 108 career stops wearing the Brown and Gold ... Saturday’s game against Franklin is just the second home night game ever on the Valparaiso University campus.