Vikings Football: Ranked 25th And On The Upswing

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, July 27, 2001

Team's Media Day Scheduled For August 24

Hudson Valley Community College's football team, which will open the upcoming campaign on the road against Northeast Football Conference rival Lackawanna College of Pennsylvania, at 1 p.m. on September 1, is ranked 25th in the recently released 2001 NJCAA preseason poll.

"It's always a good game when we play them," said Bob Jojo, Hudson Valley's head coach. "We match up very well, and it'll be an exciting way to kick off the season."

Playing in Troy last year, Lackawanna overcame wide receiver Shawn Miller's explosive collegiate debut to escape with a 28-21 win. Miller, a Troy High graduate who garnered Honorable Mention All-American status at the end of the 2000 season, finished the game with 177 receiving yards, just three shy of Hudson Valley's single-game record (Jay Kearney picked up 180 yards against Ithaca's JV in 1990).

The Vikings, who posted a 6-3 record and won the NJCAA Region III title, have not been ranked in the top 25 in recent memory.

"That ranking is a sure sign that the program is on the upswing," Hudson Valley athletics director Drew Marrochello said. "People are taking note of Hudson Valley the way they did when guys like Ralph Barone, Cecil Doggette and Ted Fornicola wore green and white. And I'd say the attention is due in large part to guys like Derrick Black, Greg Barthelemy, Spencer Young, Jim Canfield, and all our local student-athletes."

All four of the above-mentioned players graduated after the 2000 campaign and earned full football scholarships to DI colleges. Black transferred to Appalachian State; Barthelemy went to Southwest Missouri State; Young will play next at Louisiana Tech; and Canfield took his many attributes to Fordham University.

Canfield's accomplishments are particularly interesting, since he fit in well with one of Jojo's philosophy: Win with as many intelligent players as possible.

Canfield, a defensive back/scholar who was a key member of a Hudson Valley secondary that allowed just 73 yards passing per game in 2000, also played for Troy High's 1996 state championship team. In addition to being a Section II athlete who proved to be a solid collegiate football player – he recorded five interceptions and 60 tackles in 2000 – Canfield carried a 3.54 grade point average and earned Hudson Valley's Otto Guenther Memorial Award, presented each year to the individual who demonstrates the best combination of academic and athletic success.

"Jim came up big for us on and off the field last year," Jojo said. "He was a leader, and he'll do well at Fordham. They got a good player and a good person. And thanks to players like Jim, not only did we win games last year, we had the highest cumulative GPA of any football team in Hudson Valley's history. We were near a B' overall."

Things also look good for the Vikings this year.

Offensively, Hudson Valley returns a pair of experienced quarterbacks (Justin Kastner of Hudson, the starter in 2000, and Saratoga's Dylan Cooper, the 1999 starter) and a pair of talented receivers (Miller, who had a school-record 11 catches against Navy Prep in 2000, and Derrick Dyer of Rochester, who stands 6-foot-4 and runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash).

On defense, sophomores Severino Sangro and Keith Hill, both solid DI prospects, will lead the way. Sangro, of Montrose, is a 6-foot-6, 310-pound left tackle. Hill, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 255 pounds. The linebacker had 52 tackles last year.

"If we can have a solid training camp and avoid injuries, we should be in good shape," Jojo said. "We've got some great returnees, some incoming players who have a chance to make an impact, and we've just got to get ourselves ready for Lackawanna. It's nice to be ranked in the top 25, but that's just a preseason poll. Now we've got to get ready to earn the ranking."

Training camp begins on August 9. The football team's media day is scheduled for Friday, August 24, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the McDonough Complex gymnasium.

In the 2000-01 academic year, Hudson Valley's ice hockey team won the NJCAA championship, the baseball team earned a berth in the NJCAA World Series and the football team won the Region III title. The women's basketball team earned a No. 1 national ranking and turned in a 24-3 record while the men's hoop squad competed in the Region III championship game. Hudson Valley's athletic teams combined to win 72 percent of their contests in 2000-01. Additionally, two Vikings earned Region III Player-of-the-Year status, 20 were named All-Region III performers, and 10 were honored with All-American status.