Hudson Valley Football to Open Practice Saturday

CONTACT: Steve Mullen (518) 629-8063
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, August 12, 2005

The expectations are high for the Hudson Valley Community College football team as it begins preparations for the 2005 season. The Vikings have posted a 16-5 record over the last two seasons, captured three of the last four Northeast Football Conference championships, and have 11 returning starters in camp.

Under new head coach Oji Fagan, the Vikings have more than 160 players in camp looking to make the squad. The first practice is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 13. Hudson Valley has two scrimmages scheduled: versus Milford Academy at 11 a.m. on Saturday and at RPI on Saturday, August 27.

Everything begins up front for Hudson Valley's offense, which returns eight starters. The average size of the offensive line is 6-3, 320 pounds, including freshmen tackles Adrian Brown (Baltimore, MD/Randallstown High School), who stands 6-5, 350 pounds, and Stanley Belice (Spring Valley/Spring Valley High School), who is 6-5, 360 pounds. Sophomore center Josh Nelson (Cambridge/Greenwich High School) and sophomore guard Paul Furman (Amsterdam/Amsterdam High School) each started 11 games for the Vikings a year ago and sophomore guard Mike Izzo (Staten Island/Susan Wagner High School) returns after missing last season with an injury.

Sophomore running backs Dane Samuels (New City/Clarkstown North High School) and Dontay Wilson (Stamford, CT/Stamford High School) should be a formidable backfield. Samuels was a First Team All-Conference selection a year ago after leading the league with 1,125 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Wilson began the season as the starting running back before suffering a season ending injury in the opening game. Sophomore fullback Steve Zakrzewski (Hoosick Falls/Hoosick Falls High School) also started 11 games in the backfield a year ago.

Wide receiver should be one of the deepest positions for the Vikings this year. Sophomores Ricky Johnson (Newport News, VA/Heritage High School) earned Second Team All-Conference recognition a year ago after catching 27 passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Rashad Howard (Newport News, VA/Heritage High School) finished with 28 receptions for 284 yards and four touchdowns.

The quarterback position is wide open entering camp. Sophomore Jon Shanks (Millbrook/Millbrook High School) is the lone returning signal caller. Freshmen David Little (Poughkeepsie/Our Lady of Lourdes School) will challenges for the position immediately.

With the departure of Jonal Saint-Dic, last year's conference Defensive Player of the Year, to Michigan State University, Hudson Valley will need to rebuild its defensive line. Sophomore John Rescott (Troy/Lansingburgh High School), who started all 11 games at guard for Hudson Valley last season, is making the transition to the defensive line. Sophomore Richard Anderson (Brooklyn/Boys and Girls High School) began the season as a tight end last year before contributing as a defensive end. Freshman Adewale Shekoni (Providence, RI/Hope High School), a First Team All-State performer, should step in and play right away.

Sophomores John Fuschino (Clifton Park/Shenendehowa High School) and Malcolm King, Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL/James Hubert Blake, MD High School) return to anchor the linebacking corp. Fuschino finished with 57 tackles and six sacks a year ago. King had 58 tackles and returned two fumbles for touchdowns.

Sophomore corner back Dominic Howard (Baltimore, MD/Randallstown High School) was a Second Team All-Conference selection for the Vikings in 2003 and should be the leader of a young, but talented secondary. Sophomore Reggie Dorsainvil (Spring Valley/Ramapo High School) had 18 tackles at safety a year ago.

Kicker Bobby Collett (Goshen/Goshen High School) was a Second Team All-Conference Kicker and punter a year ago. He led the conference in scoring for kickers with 51 points. He kicked a school-record 47-yard field goal against Nassau Community College. He also averaged 35.7 yards per punt.

Hudson Valley, which won its final five games of the year last season to finish 8-3, opens the 2005 campaign at Hartwick JV on Sunday, September 4. The Vikings open conference play against Dean College on Saturday, September 17.