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      Spotlight on Sports

      A sneak peek of the Widener football season

      The 2017 Widener football team looks poised for another strong season as it battles against one of the toughest conferences in all of college football.

      In his fourth season, head coach Mike Kelly enters with a record of 24-9 at the helm of the Pride with winning campaigns in each of his first three years. Widener is just eight victories shy of program win 700, which would make them just the fourth Division III program to reach the milestone.

      Kelly has assembled a special group of talent that will take the field. Under center is sophomore quarterback Sean McGaughey, who started the final two games of last season including a 339 yard performance against King’s on November 5. Joining McGaughey in the backfield is last year’s Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Rookie of the Year, running back Chris Randle, a sophomore. Randle rushed for 623 yards last year and amassed 730 all-purpose yards while finding the end zone nine times. Back for his junior campaign is Donte’ Harrell who ran for 443 yards in 2016 with four touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

      When not handing the ball off, McGaughey has one of the top receiving corps in the MAC to throw to. D’Andre Sapp, a junior, who led Widener in catches last year with 45, returns to lead the wide outs. Sophomores Donnell Shuler and James Gillespie also return, each having a valuable year of experience under their belts.

      One of the staples under Kelly has been the play of the defensive line. Three of the four defensive line spots on the MAC First Team a year ago went to Widener student-athletes with Junior Vince Char and Senior Casey Kerschner each returning for another season. Char posted seven sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss while Kerschner recorded five quarterback takedowns and 9.5 TFL a year ago, helping the Pride finish 10th and 14th nationally in those categories respectively.
      Jalen Singleton,a junior, and Craig Johnson, a senior, join Char and Kerschner on the line and bring experience to the fold, appearing in 33 of a possible 40 games combined in their two seasons for the Blue and Gold.

      The linebacking trio of Seniors Joe Fox and Aaron Mastriani and Junior Cole Cusanelli all bring experience to the table and look to expand their roles from a season ago.

      One of the biggest strengths for Widener is the depth and experience in the secondary Junior Brian Armstrong, Senior Kyle Lowery, Senior Tyree Nobles, Jr., and Junior Jordan Powell each played in at least eight games last season with Lowery leading the team with three interceptions and Powell topping the Pride with six pass breakups.

      On special teams, the Pride returns Second Team All-MAC performer Mike Raczak. The sophomore finished second in the conference in yards per punt a season ago while converting six of his field goal attempts.

      Overall, a talented squad takes the field for Widener against some strong competition.

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