In sports the best team dynamic is often fashioned by combining elements of the old and the new on the roster. A team too young and there is no one to provide leadership and guidance on the field, while a team comprised solely of experienced veterans bequeaths nothing for the future of the program. It is this tweaking of the old and the new that makes the prospects for the Yellowjackets an exciting one as they opened their 2002 campaign against St. John Fisher.

UR football returns to action after a 2001 season that began with high hopes but ultimately turned to frustration after the loss of senior quarterback Jeff Piscitelli due to a serious knee injury halfway through the season. Piscitelli, a four year starter, All-UAA selection, and team leader carried the UR offense by leading the team in total offense and currently holds many of the Yellowjacket’s passing records.

Finishing the season with a record of 3-7, the Yellowjackets were in sore need of some fresh blood. Head coach Mark Kredyt and the rest of the coaching staff hit the road over the winter, reeling in a strong class of freshman recruits ? many who will see significant playing time this season.

“We’ve got a great recruiting year” Kredyt said, “we have a good mix of older talent and younger freshman.” Kredyt has been especially impressed with the performances of freshmen Matt Simon and Kelvin Coker, who will start at outside and inside linebacker, respectively. He added that linebacker Adam Schapiro will also likely to see significant playing time. To fill the shoes at quarterback steps Pat Manual, a freshman from Elmira, NY and junior Patrick Fitzsimmons, who replaced Piscitelli after his injury last year.

Returning veterans on defense include Isaac Standish and Kasim Howell, talented and experienced defensive backs that make the Yellowjacket secondary a strong point in the defensive formation. Sam Snowden adds experience to the young defensive line. On offense the Yellowjackets have potential threats at both tailback and wide receiver. John Breedy ran for over 600 yards and 7 touchdowns last year and Gerald Hopkins scored four times in 2001. At receiver the Yellowjackets have juniors Brian Ferris and Patrick Roman as deep threats.

Cardinals in the second half. Fisher kicker Scott VanAlst opened the second half scoring with a 31-yard field goal for the Cardinals to make the score 25-14. Rochester responded with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Manuel to Ferris to move within five at 25-20. Any hopes of a comeback were thwarted however as Fisher scored again when Roland completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Davis. The Cardinals closed the scoring when Meyers busted through the line with 2:47 left in the game to make the final score 38-20.

“This wasn’t the result we were looking for in week one, but we are still looking for a lot of positive things from this season,” Manuel said.

Schloss can be reached at aschloss@campustimes.org.



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