LEICESTER, Mass. – The Becker College football team is ready to kickoff the 2019 campaign under fourth-year head coach Frank Forcucci.
"We're looking to be a lot better this year, a lot more competitive" explained Forcucci. "Last season was a tough year, we were forced to play a lot of young guys at key positions. We learned trial by fire, and got better as the season went along."
Ryan expressed, "Last season we had some holes to fill and just couldn't get it right. We've worked a lot to fill those spots, as we have some amazing guys that came in and some older guys have stepped up in key positions."
2018 First Team All-Conference recipient, Ryan, will hold down the offensive line for the Hawks. Alongside Ryan, the Hawks welcome back Anthony Davis (Stratford, Conn.) and Gregory Tsisar (Dedham, Mass.).
The Hawks will return junior quarterback Jake McHugh (Lynnfield, Mass.) who went 61-131 (46.6%) in passing attempts for a total of 785 yards (112.1/game) with four touchdowns last season. David Collins (Staten Island, N.Y.) returns at the running back position after lead the team in rushing yards last season (477). He averaged 53 yards per game and logged two touchdowns last season.
Perkins will hold down the defense with the help of returners Jared Zieman (Bethel, Conn.) (LB) and Ryan Gries (North Branford, Conn.) (DL). Zieman was second on the team in total tackles with 83 last season. Perkins was fourth on the team with 47, and led the team in tackles for a loss (13.5).
Perkins is focused on team chemistry this season, "This is the first time we've really had a lot of upperclassmen all come together, we don't have any attitude problems, and everyone is on the same page."
Mac Kimball (Bow, N.H.) and Robert Pellerin (Gorham, Maine) return at the kicking and punting positions, respectively. Kimball scored 20 points for the Blue and Gray last season, as he made four field goals and logged eight extra-point kicks. Pellerin punted for a total of 1,695 yards last season, with his longest punt of 46 yards.
Elijah Hill (Tampa, Fla.) is back on the return end of the field, as he totaled 256 yards on kick and punt returns. Last season, he was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Football Rookie of the Week on Nov. 4.
Key losses for the Hawks include 2018 All-Conference recipients Michael Bianco (Manorville, N.Y.) (LB), Daniel Whittenburg (Eastford, Conn.) (OL), and Brandon Mole (Bovina, NY.) (DL). Bianco, the 2017 CCC Defensive Player of the Year, led the team in tackles last season with 95.
Forcucci and the team are very focused on getting off to a good start, as the Hawks will kickoff the season on Friday (Sep. 6) against rival Anna Maria under the lights, 7 p.m. The Hawks are 6-1 all-time against the AMCATS, winning their last game against them in 2016.
Ryan commented, "It's the first game of the season, under the lights, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there to play."
The 2019 season features three non-conference Friday night games (home against Anna Maria and MIT, a road game at Worcester State) and seven Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) football opponents. New to the league this season is Husson, which the Hawks will play homecoming weekend (Oct. 5).