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Football aims to gain stronger footing

By Kaitlin McCabe '16

September 5, 2013

For Head Football Coach Andrew Cohen, strengthening an entire football team is not a feat that can be rushed into; rather it is a step-by-step process that requires tackling one particular play at a time. The second-year head coach is optimistic going forward into Hamilton’s 2013 season, stating, “This year, our immediate goal is to get better every day.”

Despite finishing with a 1-7 record in the NESCAC sports league last year, Hamilton scored a total of 165 points, the highest offensive output for the Continentals since the 1992 season. “I was happy with our improvements as a team.  We are excited to show much improvement this upcoming season,” Cohen said.  The Continentals enter the season, however, without some valuable players who graduated, including linebacker Mike MacDonald ’13 and quarterback Jordan Eck ’13. Both athletes were four-year starters. MacDonald is one of two players in Hamilton’s football history with more than 300 tackles in his career, and Eck impressively placed third on the Continentals’ all-time passing yards list with 4,948.

This year marks Hamilton’s 121st season football season and its 116th using Steuben Field. The roster includes 33 players new to the team as well as seven returning starters on both the offensive and defensive sides, including team captains James Stanell ’14, Andrew Austin ’13, Darren Fuller ’13 and Andrew Madigan ’13. Stanell, a running back, and Joe Jensen ’15, a wide receiver, were both recognized as Division III preseason All-Americans by the USA Football Network this summer. Stanell previously received 2012 NESCAC All-Conference first team honors after heading the conference in all-purpose yards per game and ranking second with 94.5 rushing yards per game. Additionally, his 1,560 all-purpose yards during last year’s season is the second-highest total in NESCAC history. Jensen finished third in the conference with 56.8 receiving yards per game.

Coach Cohen appreciates the way his players find a balance between their academic and athletic careers. He commented, “We are very excited about our young group of student athletes. We are a group of high character guys who work very hard in the classroom and as football players. We are very proud of the leadership of this team and our seniors have led the way.”

The season opens on Steuben Field against Amherst College on Sept. 21.  The Lord Jeffery’s finished in third place in the conference last year with a record of 6-2. Wesleyan University will also come to Hamilton on Sept. 28 for Fallcoming Weekend. There will be two other home games this season, against Colby College (Oct. 19) and Bates College (Nov. 9).

“Thus far, the strength of our team is how hard we play,” Cohen said. “We are playing together and we are a cohesive team and all the members are buying in to the program. We came back in great physical condition and we are a much faster team.”

This weekend, the Continentals plan to demonstrate that improvement in a scrimmage against Cornell University. Despite the loss of several star players who graduated last year, the combination of returning seasoned starters and the arrival of energized new athletes is sure to make for a promising start.

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