August 15, 2014

No. 25 WIDENER FOOTBALL PICKED TO END FOURTH IN THE MIDDLE ATLANTIC CONFERENCE

Annville, PA (Aug. 15, 2014) – Entering another campaign with talented players and high expectations, Widener’s 25th-ranked football team was selected to end fourth in the Middle Atlantic Conference based on a vote by the league’s coaches.

Highlighting the blue and gold’s roster is senior All-America receiver/returner Anthony Davis (Upland, PA/Chester), who is one of the nation’s most explosive athletes and one who always has been fun to watch.  Davis for three straight seasons has been tabbed a preseason All-America, this year by Lindy’s Sports Magazine, the Sporting News, the Beyond Sports Network and D3Football.com.


Among Davis’ accolades from last season include being named Beyond Sports Network andD3Football.com first team All-America, ECAC South and Middle Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and first team All-MAC as both a wide receiver and on special teams.  He has been named an All-America the last two seasons and all-conference the last three years.

Going into his senior campaign, Davis enters fifth in team history with 35 touchdowns, second with 5,035 all-purpose yards, second with 31 touchdown receptions, second with 187 receptions, tied for fourth with 2,711 receiving yards, first with 67 kickoff returns and first with 1,515 kickoff return yards.

The return of sophomore quarterback Seth Klein (Wernersville, PA/Wilson West Lawn) once again will be huge for the Pride.  His solid passing skills and great intuition of the game helped him to be named the MAC Rookie of the Year, the ECAC South Offensive Rookie of the Year and Honorable Mention all-conference.

Klein led the nation in completion percentage for three straight weeks and closed second in the country at .744, fifth with 28.5 completions per game, 16th with 280.9 passing yards per contest and 50th with 267.8 yards of total offense per game.  He broke the school's and MAC's single-season record with 285 completions and his mark of 2,809 passing yards is fifth best in team history.

Klein set a new school record September 14 against Lebanon Valley with 40 completions and his 392 passing yards that day is the program's 12th-best mark.

The defense returns a great deal of talent after closing fourth in the league against the run and four times yielded fewer than 20 points.  One of those key returnees is junior defensive lineman Shakore Philip (Bay Shore, NY/Bay Shore), tabbed first team all-league and second team All-ECAC in 2013.  Philip ended tied for fifth on the team with 40 tackles and also had to his credit 3 1/2 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

Junior defensive lineman Stacey Sunnerville (Freehold, NJ/Freehold) is coming off being named second team all-league despite only playing seven games due to injury.  A starter since late in the 2012 campaign, he ended last season third in the league with nine sacks, tied for third with 12 1/2 tackles for a loss and seventh on the squad with 39 tackles.

Another key returnee is senior John DiBiase (Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape), who last year was picked Honorable Mention all-league to give the defensive line three all-conference selections.  He ended the campaign with 30 tackles, 5 1/2 tackles for a loss and three sacks.

A new face roams the sidelines as Mike Kelly takes over as head coach.  Kelly served at Division II Valdosta State from 1997-99 where he led the team to a 16-15 record and coached three All-Americas and 23 All-Gulf South Conference players.  He also served as associate head coach at San Francisco State (1990-92), offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Capital (1987-90), offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Ohio Wesleyan (1986-87), running backs coach at Marietta (1983-86) and wide receivers coach at Edinboro (1982-83).

Kelly also was the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2009, the offensive coordinator for the Blue Bombers from 1992-96, an offensive consultant and NFL Scout for the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos in 2000 and the Eskimos receivers coach in 2008.  In the National Football League, Kelly was a scout and offensive assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles (2001-02), a personnel assistant with the Washington Redskins (2003-05), and a game advance consultant for the New York Giants (2010).  He also served as offensive coordinator for the Orlando Rage of the now defunct XFL in 2000.

The Pride for a third straight year go into the season with a preseason ranking as they were picked 25th according to Lindy's Sports Magazine.  They went into last year preseason ranked as high as 15th and in 2012 as high as sixth.

Last season for Widener (6-4, 6-3 MAC) marked the third straight year it went into the regular season's final game looking for the MAC title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Widener opens its season September 5 at No. 15 Rowan.

2014 Middle Atlantic Conference Football Preseason Poll
1. Lycoming                77 pts. (5 first-place votes)
2. Delaware Valley     68 pts. (1)
3. Lebanon Valley       65 pts. (4)
4. Widener                 58 pts.
5. Albright                   48 pts.
6. King's                      40 pts.
7. Stevenson                38 pts.
8. Wilkes                     30 pts.
9. Misericordia            19 pts.
10. FDU-Florham       10 pts.