Holy Cross has 30 seniors who played in the final game of their collegiate careers against Georgetown on Nov. 23. The members of the Holy Cross senior class are defensive lineman Gary Acquah (Bronx, N.Y.), linebacker Pete Anastasio (Camp Hill, Pa.), offensive lineman Blake Berresford (Montoursville, Pa.), offensive lineman Casey Bessemer (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.), defensive lineman Matthew Boyd (Dallas, Texas), offensive lineman Mike Chieco (South Hadley, Mass.), defensive lineman Jack Daly (Hopkinton, Mass.), wide receiver Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.), defensive back Philip Gough (Hinsdale, Ill.), defensive lineman Daryl Howell (Richmond, Va.), wide receiver Jimmy Jordan (Fort Lauderale, Fla.), offensive lineman Jake Keller (Cincinnati, Ohio), offensive lineman Jay Knighton (Pottstown, Pa.), offensive lineman Billy Lang (Millersville, Md.), tight end Max Librizzi (Essex Junction, Vt.), wide receiver James Lizotte (West Boylston, Mass.), placekicker / punter John Macomber (Vienna, Va.), offensive lineman Emanuel Mendoza (Bronx, N.Y.), linebacker Scotty O'Donoghue (Tampa, Fla.), offensive lineman Kyle Pedretty (Dunedin, Fla.), linebacker Roman SanDoval (Allison Park, Pa.), defensive back Irvin Scott (Brookline, Mass.), linebacker George Sessoms (Peabody, Mass.), wide receiver Jon Smith (Matawan, N.J.), wide receiver Nate Stanley (Euclid, Ohio), wide receiver Kyle Toulouse (Arlington, Va.), linebacker Mike Tucker (Chester Springs, Pa.), running back Reggie Woods (Bowie, Md.), linebacker Tyler Zeoli (King of Prussia, Pa.) and defensive back Andrew Zitnik (Warren, Ohio). These 30 players were recognized prior to the start of the Georgetown game, along with team managers Mike Barry (Franklin, Mass.), Leo Kennedy (Berwyn, Pa.), Cindy Marte (Lawrence, Mass.) and Sarah Pines (Pinecrest, Fla.).
SanDoval Steps Up In Final Year
Fifth-year senior linebacker Roman SanDoval was once again among the top players on the Holy Cross defense this year. In 12 games played, he led the team with 80 total tackles, including 67 solo stops and two tackles for loss. SanDoval tied for the team lead in total tackles against both Georgetown (eight) and Lehigh (seven), after leading the team with nine total tackles at Fordham. Previously at Dartmouth, he made a season-high 12 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Some of SanDoval's other top games this season came against Monmouth (11 tackles), Central Connecticut (five tackles, 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown), Towson (eight tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass breakup) and Bryant (seven tackles). Last season, he recorded 75 tackles, including three sacks and five tackles for loss. In 2011, SanDoval recorded 15 tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss in the first three games, before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. Over the course of his collegiate career, SanDoval recorded 210 total tackles, four sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Fess Breaks Receiving Record
Senior wide out Mike Fess became Holy Cross' all-time leading receiver this season, and is only the seventh player in Patriot League history with 200 career receptions. Fess totaled 209 catches for 2,211 yards and 15 touchdowns during his collegiate career. He broke the previous school record of 190 receptions (set by Jeff Laboranti from 1994-1997), at Fordham on Nov. 2, then recorded his 200th career catch at Lehigh on Nov. 9. In 12 games played this season, Fess led the team with 75 receptions for 893 yards and nine scores, and received second team All-Patriot League honors. During the season finale against Georgetown, he made seven receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. In the previous contest at Lehigh, Fess totaled eight catches for 62 yards and a score. Fess also played well at Fordham, leading the team with seven receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. A few of Fess' other top games this year came against Harvard (11 receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns), Dartmouth (nine catches for 138 yards), Central Connecticut (five receptions for 63 yards and two scores), Towson (six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown) and Monmouth (five receptions for 47 yards and a score). In 2012, he led the team with 80 catches for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games played. Fess' 80 total receptions last year were the second-most ever by a Crusader in a single season. In 2011, Fess earned second team All-Patriot League honors after ranking second on the team with 45 receptions for 417 yards and two scores. In addition to being Holy Cross' all-time leader in receptions, Fess finished his career ranked fourth all-time in receiving yards.
Veterans Anchor Offensive Line
Holy Cross boasted a great deal of experience along the offensive line this season, including five players with at least 12 career starts. On the year, the line paved the way for the Crusaders to average 395.3 total yards, 155.0 rushing yards and 27.0 point per game. Fifth-year senior guard Casey Bessemer led the team with 34 consecutive games started and 45 career games played. Fifth-year senior tackle Kyle Pedretty totaled 34 starts in 35 career games played and earned second team All-Patriot League honors this year, while senior tackle Blake Berresford started 23 of his 24 career games played. Others who played key roles this year were senior center Jay Knighton with 30 career games played and 19 starts, junior guard Ryan Schnieber (Cincinnati, Ohio) with 12 starts in 12 games played, and senior tackle Emanuel Mendoza with 13 career games played and two starts.
Bhaya Enjoys Strong Season
Sophomore strong safety Matt Bhaya (Haddonfield, N.J.) developed into one of the top players in the Holy Cross secondary this year. He ranked second on the team with 71 total tackles this season, to go along with two interceptions and a team-best nine pass breakups. In the season finale against Georgetown, Bhaya made five tackles with one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. During the previous contest at Lehigh, he tied for the team lead with seven total tackles. Bhaya also played well earlier in the season at Fordham (six tackles with a fumble recovery), at Bucknell (10 total tackles with a key interception and a pass breakup), at Dartmouth (10 total tackles and a pass breakup) and at Bryant (seven total tackles with an interception and a pass breakup). In 2012, he made eight total tackles as a backup safety and on special teams. Over the course of his collegiate career, Bhaya has now recorded 79 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups.
Pujals Takes Over At Quarterback
Freshman quarterback Peter Pujals (Glenview, Ill.) has been selected as the 2013 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, and is one of 20 candidates for the Jerry Rice Award, presented annually by the Sports Network to the top freshman in the Division I football championship subdivision. On the year, he connected on 211 of 332 attempts for 2,261 yards and 19 touchdowns, in addition to running the ball 136 times for 469 yards and eight scores. Pujals broke the Holy Cross freshman records for completions, pass attempts, passing yards, yards of total offense (2,730) and touchdowns responsible for (27), while tying the freshman mark for touchdown passes. In the Lehigh game, he hit on 30 of 42 passes for 269 yards and a score. During the previous contest at Fordham, Pujals completed 23 of 38 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns, in addition to leading the team in rushing with 88 yards and a score on 18 carries. He also had a big game at Bucknell, connecting on 19 of 29 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 80 yards and three more scores on 13 carries. A few of Pujals' other top performances this season came against Harvard (33 of 50 for a career-high 345 yards and four scores), Dartmouth (25 of 37 passing for 290 yards and two touchdowns, 17 rushes for 125 yards and two scores), Colgate (287 yards of total offense and two touchdowns), Lafayette (277 yards of total offense), Georgetown (23 of 39 for 238 yards and two touchdowns) and Monmouth (12 of 19 for 129 yards and two scores off the bench).
Acquah Plays Well Up Front
Senior defensive end Gary Acquah played a key role along the Holy Cross defensive front this year. He ranked sixth on the team with 45 total tackles this season. During the Colgate game, Acquah totaled three tackles with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Previously against Harvard, he led the team with seven total tackles and one quarterback sack. Earlier this year against Monmouth, Acquah made a season-high nine tackles, including six solo stops. He also had eight tackles against Towson, five tackles at Bryant and three tackles at Central Connecticut. A second team All-Patriot League selection last year, Acquah recorded 54 total tackles, two sacks and seven tackles for loss in 2012. His top game last year came against New Hampshire with a career-high 10 tackles, a pass breakup and a blocked extra point. In 2011, Acquah led all Holy Cross defensive linemen with 40 total tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 123 tackles, four sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
Macomber Heads Up Kicking Game
Senior John Macomber once again handled the majority of the kicking duties for Holy Cross this year, and received second team All-Patriot League honors as a punter. In 12 games played, he averaged 40.8 yards on 51 punts, with 14 fair catches and 14 kicks downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Macomber also scored 56 points this season, hitting seven of 10 field goal attempts and 35 of 39 extra points. In addition, he averaged 61.9 yards on 55 kickoffs with 21 touchbacks. Macomber had an outstanding game in the victory at Central Connecticut, scoring 10 points and booting a career-long 63-yard punt. He also played well at Dartmouth, scoring seven points and kicking the game-winning 23-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. In 2012, Macomber earned second team All-Patriot League honors as both a placekicker and a punter. He ranked second on the team with 55 points scored last year, hitting 10 of 13 field goal attempts (including a long of 46 yards) and 25 of 26 extra points. Macomber also averaged 40.9 yards on 62 punts in 2012, with a long of 59 yards and 23 kicks downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He previously led the team in scoring during the 2011 season with 56 points, hitting 12 of 15 field goals and 20 of 26 extra points. Macomber also led the Patriot League in field goal percentage in 2011, while his 12 field goals made tied the school single-season record. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Macomber made 29 of 38 field goals and 80 of 91 extra points, for a total of 167 points scored, while averaging 40.8 yards on 113 career punts, with 37 kicks downed inside the opponents' 20-yard. He finished his career as Holy Cross' all-time leader in career punting average, while ranking third in field goals made and sixth in extra points made.
Raymond An All-Purpose Threat
Sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond (Lawrenceville, Ga.) became a key player for the Holy Cross offense this season, in addition to being a threat as a kick returner. In 10 games played, he caught 42 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 16 times for 67 yards and a score, returned 26 kickoffs for 548 yards and brought back nine punts for 32 yards. During the Colgate game, Raymond led the team with 148 all-purpose yards, including a six-yard touchdown catch. Previously at Bucknell, he posted a career-best 206 all-purpose yards, with a 14-yard touchdown reception. Earlier in the season, Raymond played well against Harvard (76 all-purpose yards and a five-yard scoring run in the second overtime) and Dartmouth (126 all-purpose yards with a 20-yard touchdown catch). Last year, Raymond earned first team All-Patriot League honors as a return specialist. He brought back 32 kickoffs for 777 yards and a touchdown in 2012 (good for an average of 24.3 yards per return), in addition to returning 19 punts for 101 yards. During the 2012 game at Lafayette, he returned a kickoff 80 yards for his first career touchdown. Earlier last season at Colgate, Raymond brought back eight kickoffs for 178 yards, to place third on the all-time Holy Cross single-game list for kickoff return yards.
Crusaders In The Patriot League
Having just wrapped up its 28th season of play in the Patriot League, Holy Cross owns an all-time record of 84-72 (.538) in conference action. The Crusaders won their last conference championship in 2009, clinching the title with a 28-26 victory over Lafayette to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Holy Cross' six Patriot League championships (all of them outright) have come in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 2009. The Crusaders are tied for the second-most championships in conference history, behind only Lehigh with 10 titles. In 2009, Holy Cross won five Patriot League games for just the fourth time in school history. The Crusaders previously went 5-1 in 2008, while posting 5-0 conference records in 1990 and 1991.
Freshmen Make Presence Felt
In addition to quarterback Peter Pujals, several other freshmen have found their way into the Holy Cross lineup during their first season of collegiate competition. Freshman tailback Gabe Guild (Overland Park, Kan.) led the team in rushing with 496 yards and five touchdowns on 101 carries, and also stood sixth on the team in receiving with 20 catches for 210 yards and a score. During the Lafayette game, he rushed 23 times for a season-best 142 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman linebacker Kyle Young (Roxbury, N.J.) became a factor, recording five tackles and forcing two fumbles at Dartmouth, then returning an interception 79 yards for a touchdown at Bucknell. He totaled 32 tackles on the year. Freshman wide receiver Jake Wieczorek (Cumming, Ga.) became a key all-around player, returning 16 kickoffs for 320 yards, catching 12 passes for 215 yards, bringing back two punts for 23 yards and rushing three times for 13 yards. He scored the first touchdown of his Holy Cross career on a 33-yard catch at Dartmouth, then added a 12-yard scoring reception against Georgetown. In addition, freshman tailback Brendan Flaherty (Beverly, Mass.) rushed the ball 13 times for 63 times and a score and caught two passes for 23 yards, while freshman free safety Luke Ford (Wilmette, Ill.) has made seven tackles with a quarterback sack.
Head Coach Tom Gilmore
A two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year (in 2006 and 2009), Tom Gilmore just concluded in his 10th season as the head football coach at Holy Cross in 2013. He has guided the Crusaders to an overall record of 56-56 during his time at Holy Cross, including a 53-48 mark since the beginning of the 2005 campaign. In 2009, Gilmore led the Crusaders to an overall record of 9-3, the Patriot League championship and a trip to the NCAA playoffs. A finalist for the 2009 Eddie Robinson Award, Gilmore led the Crusaders to winning records in seven straight seasons from 2005-2011, including 7-4 marks in 2006, 2007 and 2008, along with winning streaks of six games (in 2008) and five games (in 2006 and 2009). Two of Gilmore's players, Dominic Randolph (2007, 2008 and 2009) and Steve Silva (2005), have been named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, with Silva earning first team All-America honors. Gilmore has also led the Crusaders to four victories over ranked opponents, three of which came in 2009. Prior to his time at Holy Cross, Gilmore served as an assistant coach at Lehigh (2000-2003), Dartmouth (1992-1999), Pennsylvania (1986, 1990-1991) and Columbia (1987-1989). An Academic All-American at Pennsylvania, Gilmore graduated in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in computer mathematics. He was the Ivy League Player of the Year as a senior and helped lead the Quakers to four consecutive Ivy League titles.
Crusaders Bring In Academic Honors
Two Holy Cross players were honored this season for their performance both in the classroom and on the football field. Senior placekicker John Macomber was selected as a semifinalist for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to the top scholar-athlete in the nation. Junior free safety Sam Jones (Canal Winchester, Ohio) was named to the Capital One / CoSIDA Academic All-District first team. This marked the second straight season that Jones made the Academic All-District squad.
Tradition Of Excellence
The 2013 campaign marked the 118th season of Holy Cross football. The Crusaders currently own an overall record of 610-495-54, good for a .550 winning percentage. Prior to the start of the 2013 season, Holy Cross' 607 all-time victories ranked as the 14th most among all Division I-AA schools. Holy Cross has had 31 first team All-America selections, sent 69 players on to professional football, won five Lambert Cups, claimed six Patriot League championships, and was named the Division I-AA Team of the Year in 1987. The Crusaders also played in the 1946 Orange Bowl, losing to host Miami on the game's final play.
Holy Cross In The NCAA Statistics
Four Crusaders were ranked among the NCAA leaders in various statistical categories, through the end of the regular season. As a team, Holy Cross stood 13th in third down conversions and 15th in first downs. The rankings:
|Category||Rank||Player / Team||Avg. / Pct.|
|Third Down Conversions||13||Holy Cross||46.5|
|Points Responsible For||14||Peter Pujals||16.2|
|First Downs||15||Holy Cross||22.8|
|Total Offense||18||Peter Pujals||273.0|
|Fewest Penalty Yards||20||Holy Cross||43.4|
|Passing Yards||28||Peter Pujals||226.1|
|Forced Fumbles||29||Tyler Zeoli||0.3|
|Pass Efficiency||47||Peter Pujals||134.8|
Crusaders Among League Leaders
Two Holy Cross players ranked at or near the top of the Patriot League standings in a number of statistical categories, at the end of the regular season. Senior kicker John Macomber led the league in punting (40.8 yards/punt) and ranked fifth in field goals (0.6 made/game). In addition, freshman quarterback Peter Pujals stood second in the conference in passing yards (226.1 yards/game) and total offense (273.0 yards/game), while ranking third in pass efficiency (134.8 rating), while senior wide out Mike Fess ranked fifth in the league in receptions (6.3 catches.game). As a team, Holy Cross stood second in the conference in first downs (22.8 first downs/game), while ranking third in total offense (395.3 yards/game), net punting (36.7 yards/punt), punt returns (10.1 yards/return) and third down conversions (46.5 percent).
Defending The Home Turf
Holy Cross has enjoyed great success at Fitton Field over the years, but has lost eight straight home games with an 0-6 mark in 2013. The Crusaders, who played their first game at Fitton Field in 1903, have posted an all-time home mark of 368-180-27 (.663). From Oct. 11, 2008-Oct. 9, 2010, Holy Cross had a streak of 13 straight victories at home. The Crusaders had a perfect 6-0 mark at Fitton Field in 2009, and finished the 2011 campaign with a winning record at home for the sixth straight season. Fitton Field is the second-oldest stadium still used for Division I college football, behind only Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania (opened in 1895).
Football Legends Ring Of Honor Inducts Fourth Class
The athletic department at the College of the Holy Cross honored three former football standouts on Sept. 21, as the fourth class of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor. Tom Greene (Class of 1959), Dave Quehl (Class of 1976) and Johnny Turco (Class of 1952) were all honored in a ceremony prior to the Monmouth game, and received permanent recognition at Fitton Field. Only former Crusader football players who have been elected to the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame are eligible for this honor, which is an annual event each fall. Individuals who have previously been inducted into the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor include Ronnie Cahill (Class of 1940), George Connor (Class of ex1946), Gill Fenerty (Class of 1986), Bruce Kozerski (Class of 1984), Gordie Lockbaum (Class of 1988), Pat McCarthy (Class of 1963), Jon Morris (Class of 1964), Edmund Murphy (Class of 1943), Bill Osmanski (Class of 1939), Vince Promuto (Class of 1960), John Provost (Class of 1975), Jeff Wiley (Class of 1989) and Joe Wilson (Class of 1973).
Acquah & Fess Serve As Captains
Holy Cross had two captains for the 2013 football season. Senior defensive end Gary Acquah and senior wide receiver Mike Fess were named the team's captains by head coach Tom Gilmore following the conclusion of spring practice. These two players took over the leadership role from Tom Mannix, Gerald Mistretta, Roman SanDoval and Sean Whited, who served as the Crusaders' captains during the 2012 campaign.
Defense Takes It Away At Bucknell
The Holy Cross defense forced a season-high five turnovers during the Oct. 12 victory at Bucknell. The Crusaders intercepted four passes on the day, in addition to forcing one fumble. That marked the most turnovers Holy Cross had forced in a single game since taking the ball away five times at Georgetown on Sept. 22, 2008. On the season, the Crusaders caused a total of 19 turnovers, with nine interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries.
Crusaders Run Wild At CCSU
During the Sept. 14 victory at Central Connecticut, Holy Cross ran the ball 72 times for 419 yards. The Crusaders tied the school single-game record with their 72 rushing attempts, while their 419 rushing yards were their most since running for 583 yards on 72 carries against Columbia on Oct. 29, 1983. Holy Cross also picked up 28 of its 33 total first downs against the Blue Devils on the ground, breaking the Patriot League single-game record of 23 rushing first downs which had been accomplished four times before. The Crusaders' 419 rushing yards also tied for the 13th-most in the nation by any team in the football championship subdivision during the regular season.
Crusaders On The Radio
All of Holy Cross' games in 2013 aired on WTAG 580 AM and 94.9 FM in Worcester. Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre was in his 43rd season calling the play-by-play for Holy Cross football, and his 27th year covering the Crusaders on the radio. Former Holy Cross standouts Tom Kelleher, Gordie Lockbaum and John O'Neil served as the color commentators for selected games this season. All of the Crusaders' games were also be available free of charge over the internet at www.wtag.com. In addition, WCHC 88.1 FM, the Holy Cross student station, carried a number of games this year.
Holy Cross On Television
The Crusaders had five games shown on live television during the 2013 season. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule from the 2013 campaign:
Sept. 28 at Dartmouth: Fox College Sports Central
Oct. 5 vs. Harvard: Charter TV3
Oct. 19 vs. Colgate: CBS Sports Network
Oct. 26 vs. Lafayette: Charter TV3
Nov. 9 at Lehigh: Service Electric
Live video streaming of most 2013 Holy Cross regular season home football games was available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The package, done in association with Campus Insiders as part of the Patriot League Network, was available free of charge. For details on Crusader Vision, click here.
The Holy Cross Football Show
Every Tuesday during the season, head coach Tom Gilmore was joined by Bob Fouracre for the Holy Cross Football Show. The show aired live from 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. exclusively on the internet, with archives of all the shows available to those who can not watch live. The show is carried through Crusader Vision free of charge. For more details, click here.
Crusaders On Social Media
Updates on Holy Cross football can be found through the Holy Cross Athletics pages on the following social media networks:
Facebook: Holy Cross Athletics
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Senior wide receiver Nate Stanley caught five passes for 74 yards and his first career touchdown against Harvard, then totaled seven catches for 90 yards at Lehigh. He finished the season ranked second on the team with 44 catches for 474 yards and three touchdowns ... Senior linebacker Tyler Zeoli totaled eight tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery during the Fordham game. He ranked third on the team with 67 total tackles this season, to go along with two interceptions and three forced fumbles ... Junior cornerback Ben Coffaro (Cincinnati, Ohio) tied for the team lead with two interceptions on the year, in addition to making 49 tackles and breaking up four passes ... Senior tailback Reggie Woods ranked fourth on the team in rushing with 286 yards on 58 carries, including a career-high 153 yards on 24 rushes during the victory at Central Connecticut ... Junior free safety Logan Silver (Eugene, Ore.) led the team with 11 total tackles during the victory at Bucknell. He finished the year ranked fourth on the team with 51 total tackles.