Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Friday Tailgate (a day early)

pictured: Chris McInerney, Dickinson

Talking about early openers! The 2007 Centennial Conference football season kicks off tonight as preseason favorite Ursinus travels to La Salle and newcomer Moravian visits Susquehanna. Five other teams start their campaigns on Saturday, while two more begin the 2007 season a week from Saturday.

Moravian travels to Selinsgrove to take on Susquehanna in the national DIII opener at 7 p.m. The Greyhounds and the Crusaders were long-time foes in the Middle Atlantic Conference, before parting ways to join the Centennial and the Liberty League, respectively. Interestingly enough, Moravian president Dr. Christopher Thomforde was the chaplain at Susquehanna from 1986-96, while 'Hound head coach Scot Dapp was head baseball and assistant football coach at SU for seven seasons before heading to the Lehigh Valley.

Ursinus, the choice of the Conference coaches and SIDs to win the Centennial championship, travels the short distance to Philadelphia to take on La Salle. It is the fifth meeting between the Bears and the Explorers with each team posting two victories.

Muhlenberg heads to the Garden State on Friday night and takes on The College of New Jersey. The Mules return 10 starters on defense, including 2006 MVP Chris Musselman, and their starting QB for the first time since 2002 in Eric Santagato. 'Berg is 4-0 all-time against the Lions.

It is always special for coach Barry Streeter when Gettysburg battles Lebanon Valley, as Streeter is a 1971 graduate of LVC. It is the seventh straight year that the Bullets and the Dutchmen have met in the season opener. Gettysburg was 5-0 last season at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium and have not lost at home since a loss to Rochester on Sept. 17, 2005.

Johns Hopkins and McDaniel travel to Virginia to take on ODAC foes Hampden-Sydney and Bridgewater, respectively. The Blue Jays play their earliest opener in school history and look for their ninth win in their last 11 season openers. Hopkins is 14-6 against the ODAC since 1996. The Green Terror has gone 17 seasons since posting back-to-back losing campaigns and is one win shy of the 500 mark all-time. QB Brad Baer needs 696 passing yards to become the second CC quarterback to amass 4,000 career passing and 1,000 career rushing yards.

Dickinson heads west to take on Grove City. The defending CC champions return 2006 Centennial Defensive Player of the Year Eric Dube at linebacker and all-around threat Chris McInerney at WR/KR.

Franklin & Marshall and Juniata, the other newcomer to the Conference in 2007, are both idle this week.

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