Red Fox Football Seeks to Utilize Young Talent in 2018
It’s almost autumn, and with the arrival of fall and the new semester comes the arrival of the Marist football season. With the departure of several upperclassmen, the Red Foxes will look to utilize some of their younger players in 2018.
“Our freshman class is excellent. We feel it is our strongest class in terms of athleticism,” said Head Coach Jim Parady.
Last year, the Red Foxes finished 4-7 on the season, but Parady says the team’s “tremendous spring season” fueled its success during summer training.
“We came out of the spring feeling good about ourselves. It carried over to the summer… we felt that the team brought in the values we were looking to establish,” Parady said.
During preseason scrimmages, the coaches have given several quarterbacks a chance to showcase their abilities.
In one scrimmage, freshman quarterback Matt Edwards launched a 53-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Dwayne Menders. On another play, red-shirt sophomore quarterback Jacob Hallenbeck was able to complete a 50-yard pass to senior wide-receiver Juston Christian.
With the departure of quarterback Mike White, a primary focus will be filling in his starting position. White finished his Red Fox career with 7,845 passing yards, 47 passing touchdowns and a completion percentage of 50.6 percent.
“We have two guys that are vying for the job,” Parady said—referring to Hallenbeck and red-shirt freshman quarterback Mike Husni.
Hallenbeck started two games at quarterback last season, and he was able to complete 21 of 47 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown on the season.
“He came in and really showed good execution of offense,” Parady said, while describing Husni as an “allusive playmaker quarterback type guy” that makes him difficult to defend.
The talent on the defensive side of the ball has shown promising, too. Both veterans and underclassmen alike have been able to make crucial stops in scrimmages. Red-shirt sophomore cornerback Alex Bergan intercepted a pass in the end zone at the end of the first quarter during the team’s final scrimmage. In the same scrimmage, red-shirt junior Peter Delatour pulled off a third-down sack, while red-shirt senior safety Wesley Beans nabbed an interception.
The team feels strong about its wealth of wide receivers, headed by Juston Christian, who had 60 receptions for 1096 yards last year—the second-highest single-season total in program history, and the team-best five receiving touchdowns.
On the kicking side, Parady will look to red-shirt sophomore Mateo Zapata and freshman Max Heinrich.
Referring to Zapata, Parady said, “His leg is very strong. He’s been very impressive in all three facets of our kicking game.”
Heinrich, he said, can compete with Zapata in the kicking game and relieve some pressure.
The Red Foxes scored an average of 21.27 points per game last season, more than nine points less than their opponents’ average of 30.73. This could be due to their limited success in the rushing game. Marist gained a total of 1,445 yards on the ground in 2017, while its opponents were able to rack up a total of 1,704 rushing yards.
The team also seemed rather hesitant to run the ball last year compared to its opponents. Marist logged in 325 rushing attempts, while the team’s opponents attempted a total of 459 rushes.
Parady says the running game will inevitably improve with a good offensive line—an area that he feels confident about going into this season,
“One of the biggest improvements we think we’ve made is with our offensive line…the running game is no good unless we’re good upfront,” he said.
For now, the team is focusing on short-term, weekly goals.
“Right now, coming off the season we had last year, it’s really about getting ourselves to be able to play at a high level week in and week out,” Parady said. “If we play to our ability each week, then things will fall into place.”
The Red Foxes will host the Georgetown University Hoyas at Tenney Stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 11 to kick off the season. Their final game will be on Nov.17, when they host the University of San Diego Toreros.