HIRAM, OHIO — The Hiram College football team has already begun the 2008 season in record fashion as the Terriers will enter preseason camp with the largest number of players in school history. The 100-plus man roster will look to improve upon a 0-10 mark last fall, but it will not be easy as Hiram will have to face a tough schedule that includes home matchups against Wittenberg University, Case and Wabash (Ind.) College.
“We’re really excited about the number of players we’ll have coming into camp this year,” said second-year Head Coach Bob Wolfe. “Not only will we have the largest team in terms of numbers the school has ever seen, but we have also brought in some guys that could be some real ‘players’ at this level.”
Hiram returns 39 lettermen (20 offensive, 17 defensive and two specialist) this fall, including 15 starters (seven offensive, seven defensive and one specialist).
“We have a good balance of returning players and newcomers,” said Wolfe. “Although, we’ll still have to cope with our share of inexperience, our veterans will have the experience that we can rely on and help teach our new players.”
The offense will have the most new faces, but will have veteran leadership at the helm as two-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference quarterback Trevor Henderson (Rural Valley, Pa./West Shamokin) returns for his final season. Last year, Henderson led the Terriers in both passing and rushing. He accounted for 1,632 yards through the air, completing 168-of-304 passes (55.3 percent) with seven touchdowns and tied the school single-season record for fewest interceptions thrown with seven. His 1,632 passing yards was a career-high and marked the second season in his career with over 1,500 yards. Henderson also rushed for 169 yards on 93 carries and tallied two scores.
“Trevor will be a key role for our offense again this year,” stated Wolfe. “But we’re hoping to be able to ease some of the burden on him that he’s been forced into in the past this year.”
Backing up Henderson will be sophomore Matt Wilson (Ashtabula/Edgewood) who returns to the offensive side of the ball after spending last season primarily with the defense in the secondary. In 2007, he accounted for 41 tackles (19 solo and 22 assists) including one-and-a-half tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery. As a backup QB, Wilsoncompleted seven-of-15 passes for 145 yards and a TD.
The running back position will have the most inexperience as only two players from a year ago will return in 2008 in sophomore Luke Lewis (Fremont/St. Joseph) and senior Eddie Cloud (Bedford Heights/Warrensville Heights). Lewis ended his “rookie” season third on the team in rushing with 106 yards on 45 carries and two TD. Cloud carried the ball 35 times for 95 yards and a TD.
The wide receiver corps should see a lot of action this season with the spread offense. Back to lead the wideouts will be sophomores Steve Hammond (Huber Heights/Kettering Fairmont), Glenn Campbell (Copley/Buchtel) and Kyle Milano (Medina/Brunswick). Hammond led the team in both receptions (39), yards (478) and touchdowns (three) as a freshman. He also rushed for 27 yards and two scores. Campbell saw most of his playing time at wideout, but also saw some time as a backup quarterback. As a receiver, he caught 38 passes for 383 yards and two TD. At quarterback, he completed four-of-six passes for 22 yards. Milano finished behind Hammond in reception yards at 471 and had two TD. He led the team in yards per game with a 52.3 average.
The offensive line will be anchored this season by juniors Bryan Boggs (Willoughby/Eastlake North) and Tim Glodowski (Eastlake/North), both of who started eight games last season. Also look for junior Matt Kozer (Erie, Pa./McDowell) and sophomore Chris Sabo (Munroe Falls/Archbishop Hoban) who started their share of games a year ago, to see increased roles this season.
“Our offense will have a lot of youth,” said Wolfe. “But the majority of our returning players saw playing time last year as freshmen and sophomores and that should give us an advantage in not having too many first-year players on the field at one time.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Terriers will have the most experience, but will be without All-NCAC linebacker Tom Canitia who graduated this past spring.
“Tom will be a big hole to fill this season, said Wolfe. “He was our top defensive player last season and was one of the top linebackers in the league.”
Hiram will line up in a modified 4-4 defense in 2008 and will be led up front by two-time All-NCAC defensive lineman Humphrey Caswell (Hiram/Brush). Caswell led all lineman in tackles last season with 47 (24 solo and 23 assists), including a team-tying high four tackles for a loss of 10 yards. He also tallied two quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Joining Caswell will be juniors Dan Zalewski (Cleveland/St. Edward) and Tyrone Mixon (Clevealnd Heights). Both had strong seasons in 2007 withZalewski recording 34 tackles (18 solo and 16 assists), including three-and-a-half tackles for loss and two sacks, while Mixon added 21 takcles (nine solo and 12 assists). Also look for juniors Joe Battaglia (Auburn/Kenston) and T.J. Brazofsky (Chardon/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) to make an impact on the defensive line this fall.
At linebacker, look for junior Alex Ream (Parma Heights/Holy Name) to reassume his starting role. As a sophomore, Ream was second in tackles with 66 (33 solo and 33 assists) and had two tackles for loss and a sack. In addition, he tallied one fumble forced and fumble recovery.
Hiram’s strenghth of the defense this season will be the secondary with the return of juniors Jeff Papesh (Garfield Heights), Clarence Henry (Hiram/Allen University, Ga.)and sophomores Nick Haigh (Wadsworth/Cloverleaf), Brandon Jackson (Akron/Buchtel). Papesh ended the 2007 season fourth in tackles with 48 (35 solo and 13 assists) and had a team-tying high two interceptions, including a 55-yard return for a TD against The College of Wooster. Henry recorded 42 tackles (24 solo and 18 assists) including a fumble recovery. Haigh was third on the team with 55 tackles (32 solo and 23 assists) to go along with two tackles for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Jacksonhad a standout rookie season finishing tied for seventh in tackles at 41 (25 solo and 16 assists) with two interceptions, a fumble recovery and four pass breakups.
Returning to the defense and moving to the secondary is senior Derreck Haynes (Willowick/Eastlake North). Last Fall, Haynes suffered a season-ending injury midway through the year. Despite missing the second half of the season, he still had 33 tackles (12 solo and 21 assists) with three-and-a-half tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as a linebacker.
Also returning to the team in 2008 will be sophomore Stefhen Offutt (Twinsburg) who did not play last season. As a freshman, Offutt tallied 20 tackles (13 solo and seven assists), an interception and two fumble recoveries.
“Our entire defense should be pretty strong this season, especially our secondary,” said Wolfe. “We were pretty strong defensively last year, but we had to rely on them too much resulting in players getting tired too quickly. Hopefully we won’t have to do that as much this season, but they are all capable of coming up with critical stops when we need it.”
The Terrier special teams also lost a key role player in graduated senior punter Gary Sheplavy who left Hiram the owner of school, conference and NCAA Division III career records.
Despite the loss of Sheplavy, the Terriers will welcome back sophomore Derek Rieg (Brunswick) and junior Pat Majernik (North Lima/South Range). Rieg saw significant playing time in 2007 as both a placekicker and punter. He ended the season one-of-four in field goals and was a perfect 10-of-10 in extra points finishing second in team scoring with 13 points. As a punter, he posted 706 total yards in 22 attempts for a 32.1 yards per punt average. Rieg had five punts land inside the 20-yard line and recorded a season-long punt of 53 yards. Majernik added depth as a placekicker with two field goal attempts on the season, but did not record a successful kick. He should again see playing time as a backup in 2008 and could compete for a possible starting role.
“Special teams will be a crucial part of the game again this season,” said Wolfe. “Derek did a nice job for us last season and Pat got some valuable playing experience as well that will give us two good options when needed.”
The bulk of the Hiram roster will be the combination of freshmen and transfers as over 70 players will be suiting up in a Terrier uniform for the first time this season.
“We’re very excited to have another huge incoming group of fine players to our program,” said Wolfe. “It is one of many steps, but perhaps the most important, in order to turn around the program and achieve the results we’re looking for.”
Hiram will kickoff the 2008 season on Saturday, Sept. 6 when it travels to Washington, D.C. for a matchup against Gallaudet University. The game is scheduled to begin at noon.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495, by FAX at (330) 569-5392 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.