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Disappointing Season for Football Ends with a Loss

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Updated: Sunday, February 22, 2009 02:02

The 2006 William Paterson University football team has added another tough year, after what looked to be a promising team.

Since 2000, the Pioneers have gone a combined 15-53, with only one non-losing season. Injuries and a tough schedule have been major road-blocks for the Pioneers this year. Players have gone down in key positions on offense and the team has had to face four nationally ranked teams so far.

"This year's schedule includes Wilkes, Cortland, Hobart, and Rowan-teams all ranked nationally in the top 20," said Sabrina Grant, athletic director. "Injuries have really taken a toll on the team this year, with three quarterbacks being sidelined with injuries, and two of the top running backs sustaining season ending injuries."

With the loss of key players on the offensive side, the defense needed to step up and make plays, which it definitely has. The Pioneer defense has kept the majority of games close and has given the team opportunities to win.

"Although the record this year is not what we hoped for, with the exception of two games, Wilkes and Cortland, we have been within one score, and in most cases, one possession of winning the ballgame," said Grant.

Excluding the Wilkes University and SUNY Cortland games, the Pioneers have lost every contest this year by the average of 4.6 points.

Junior cornerback Stephon Anderson was named Defensive Rookie of the Week on Oct. 22, when the WPU got its first win over Buffalo State, 27-21. Anderson recorded five solo tackles and four defended passes, and when the game was on the line, he intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown.

Anderson and fellow cornerback Harold Green are the only two players on the Pioneers to be in the national Division III rankings. According to D3football.com, Anderson is ranked sixth in interceptions per game and 13th in passes defended per game, while Green is ranked 42nd in interceptions, 73rd in solo tackles, and fourth in passes defended.

Although injuries and a tough schedule have hurt the Pioneers this year, that certainly does not mean that the team isn't enthusiastic about playing football and is looking forward to next year. Grant is very optimistic about the 2007 season.

"If we can retain the vast majority of this year's players and get healthy, 2007 should be a great year for the football program," she said. "Retention and experience will help the team's rate of success."

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