August 3, 2009

Bloomsburg Football Voted First in PSAC Preseason Poll

BLOOMSBURG-The Bloomsburg University football squad has been selected as the top team in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division, as voted on by the coaches at the conference football media day at Kutztown.

The Huskies received five first place votes, while defending PSAC East champion West Chester and East Stroudsburg received two and one, respectively. Rounding out the rest of the East was C.W. Post in fourth place, followed by Shippensburg, Kutztown, Millersville and Cheyney.

"I'm excited for the team and for our fans," head coach Danny Hale said about the first place vote. "It's a testament to what we've done in the past as well as the players we have coming back. But it is certainly a long road ahead, and I remind my players that it's not where you start, but where you finish."

Under the direction of Hale, Bloomsburg has won 10 outright or shared PSAC East titles and have reached the NCAA playoffs six times. Hale stands as the school's all-time leader in victories with a record of 136-46-1.

Hale returns 13 starters from the 2008 squad, a group that finished 11-2 and reached the NCAA playoffs for the third time in four years. Among those returning starters are senior captains Dan Latorre (Catawissa/Southern Columbia), Jesse Cooper (Sewell, NJ/Washington Twp.) and Stefan Adams (West Chester/Henderson).

Latorre, entering his fourth year as Bloomsburg's starting quarterback, was a first team All-PSAC East selection last year, recording 2,162 yards of total offense and 27 total touchdowns. He led an offense that scored 31.3 points per game and converted a conference-best 47 percent of their third downs. Latorre heads into the 2009 season third all-time in school history in both yards passing and touchdowns and is the all-time leader in rushing yards by a quarterback.

Cooper, who was named a first team pre-season All-American by Lindy's as a defensive back, flashed his play-making ability both on defense and on special teams in 2008. A first team All-PSAC East selection last year, he registered 13 passes defended, including four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He was also ranked in the top 10 in all of Division II with a 30.7-yard kick return average, scoring once from 91 yards out.

Adams, a versatile fullback, racked up 11 rushing touchdowns last year to go along with a career-high 326 yards. A three-year letterwinner, he helped the Huskies rush for 266.2 yards per game, the highest total in the PSAC. Adams scored two touchdowns in a game four times, earning second team All-PSAC honors.

The offense also features a pair of sophomore running backs in Derrick Price (Burlington, NJ/Burlington City) and Kenny Domzalski (Milford/Delaware Valley). Price burst onto the scene a year ago, leading the Huskies in rushing with a Bloomsburg freshman record 1,279 yards, while adding seven touchdowns on the ground. Price was named PSAC East Rookie of the Year in addition to garnering first team All-PSAC East honors. Domzalski rushed for 878 yards, including 172 in his first collegiate game at Ashland. He went for 100 yards three times last year and earned a second team All-PSAC East selection.

Along with Cooper, the Huskies feature a talented defense with players like junior defensive lineman Dave Huot (Bethlehem/Freedom), and junior linebackers Thomas McFarland (Pottsville/Pottsville) and Mike Varanavage (Philadelphia/Archbishop Ryan). Huot was second on the team in 2008 with 8.5 tackles-for-loss, with three coming against Gannon. McFarland started all 13 games last season, registering 52 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, and an interception that came in the fourth quarter of last season's come from behind victory over Ashland. Varanavage, who also plays on the Huskies basketball team, posted 53 tackles last season, including 12 in the win over Gannon.

The Huskies open up the 2009 season on Thursday, August 27 against nationally ranked Ashland starting at 6 p.m. It will be the first official night game at Redman Stadium. The following week the Huskies hit the road for a game against PSAC West number one, California.

PSAC Preseason Football Coaches' Poll

PSAC East Coaches Poll

1. Bloomsburg (5)
2. West Chester (2)
3. East Stroudsburg (1)
4. C.W. Post
5. Shippensburg
6. Kutztown
7. Millersville
8. Cheyney

PSAC West Coaches Poll

1. California (5)
2. Edinboro (3)  
3. IUP  
4. Mercyhurst  
5. Slippery Rock  
6. Gannon  
7. Clarion  
8. Lock Haven