Vikings Set For First Home Game

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

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, September 6, 2001

Hudson Valley's Football Team Will Play
SUNY Canton At La Salle Institute On Sunday

Hudson Valley Community College's football team will play its first home game of the 2001 campaign at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 8. Due to construction of a minor-league baseball stadium at Hudson Valley, the Vikings will host Northeast Football Conference rival SUNY Canton at La Salle Institute.

Last year, Hudson Valley traveled to SUNY Canton in the fifth week of the season. The Northstars committed five turnovers while Hudson Valley committed none, and the Vikings exploded for six touchdowns in the first half en route to a 45-14 romp. Justin Kastner (Hudson High) connected on eight of 11 pass attempts and threw for four touchdowns, including three to Derrick Dyer (John Marshall High). Kastner, who tied Hudson Valley's record for touchdown passes in a game, threw for 184 yards and Dyer racked up 147 receiving yards.

Hudson Valley won five of its final six games in 2000, finishing the season with a 6-3 record and winning the NJCAA Region III title. SUNY Canton posted a 5-4 record.

On offense this year, the Vikings are led by a group of returnees: Kastner, who had a 137.0 passer rating last year; Dyer, who stands 6-foot-4 and runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash; and Shawn Miller (Troy High), a preseason First Team All-American wide receiver who holds Hudson Valley's record for receptions in a game (11). Defensively, second-year inside linebacker Gary Smith (Concord High, DE) is expected to lead the way. Smith, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 218 pounds, had 57 tackles and two sacks last year. Other defensive returnees include defensive end La'Ronn Paulk (Corcoran High, NJ), who had a team-high 6.5 sacks in 2000, and outside linebacker Casey Bardin (Corinth High), who contributed 24 tackles and one sack last year.

Hudson Valley and SUNY Canton have played each other every year since 1996, with Hudson Valley owning a 3-2 edge in the series. The Vikings have won the last two meetings.

Tom Mickle takes over for Lou Saban as SUNY Canton's head coach this season. The Northstars, who are 1-0 this year – they defeated Alfred State, 39-6, last weekend – expect defense to be a strength this season. They return seven key defensive players, including linebackers Aldo Bonnachi (43 tackles in 2000) and Tyrone Kinsey (60 tackles last season). Offensively, second-year tailback Curtis Hathcock tallied 129 yards on 22 carries against Alfred State last weekend. Freshman Charles Mitchum completed nine of 29 pass attempts for 179 yards. He also ran for 56 yards.

Hudson Valley traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania last weekend to play Lackawanna College, but the game was suspended when a pair of stadium lights blew out at halftime. NFC officials will determine whether the game will be continued or replayed. Both teams are 0-0.

Hudson Valley's football program was established in 1969. At the time, Hudson Valley was one of only two junior colleges in New York to field a varsity football team. Since then, nearly 300 Hudson Valley football players have earned scholarships to four-year schools and 15 have gone on to play professionally. The Vikings competed in the Coca Cola Bowl in Iowa in 1980. In 1996, Hudson Valley posted an 8-0 record, part of a dominant stretch that included 15 straight victories.