Football Set To Blend Solid Mix Of Veterans, Newcomers For 2005 Campaign As Over 80 Candidates Set To Report To First "Skyhawk" Camp In Mid-August

June 28, 2005

The second season of the Chris Woods era of Stonehill College Football looks to be one of continued progress and change, as the second year mentor welcomes a solid combination of veterans and newcomers that has the Skyhawks poised to continue their climb up the ladder of success in the Northeast-10 Conference.

Woods, who worked his program mastery at Mansfield (Pa.) before coming to Stonehill, is set to welcome back 36 letterwinners and 17 starters back to the fold a year after the program enjoyed its best start in eight seasons, while an influx of 53 newcomers will provide additional depth for the Skyhawks this fall.

Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for the 2005 edition of Stonehill Football:

OFFENSE. Sophomore Greg Borsari (Kingston, Mass./Plymouth North) returns as the incumbent signal caller for Woods, as he gained valuable experience at the quarterback spot during his freshman campaign in 2004. Borsari completed 88 passes for 998 yards and six touchdowns during his rookie season while adding 18 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Senior Mike Plichta (Milford, Mass./Milford) and junior Paul Stone (Somerville, Mass./Somerville) had also been grouped in the quarterback spot last season but will now join the receiving corps full time, as Plichta hauled in a team-high 30 receptions fro 308 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season.

Sophomore Mike Palermo (South Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) is the top returning rusher for the Skyhawks this fall after amassing 159 yards in his rookie season, while senior Ryan Griffith (Hanson, Mass./Whitman-Hanson) and junior Joe Carley (Harrington Park, N.J./Northern Valley Old Tappan) look to contribute as well for Stonehill after suffering injury plagued campaigns in the past. Griffith rushed for 48 yards and one touchdown on the ground while adding 12 receptions for 111 yards, including a 60-yard catch in the fourth quarter that set up the winning score in a 15-14 win at Pace last September.

Sophomore Josh Thomas (Melbourne, Fla./Holy Trinity) joins Plichta as top receiving threats for the Skyhawks this fall, as Thomas hauled in 12 cathces for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns to rank third on the team in receiving yards. Junior Paul Rosie (Arlington, Mass./Arlington) returns to the tight end spot after making a pair of catches for 48 yards and a touchdown, while junior Jim Coughlin (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) will make the switch from the defensive side of the ball to the receiving corps for Stonehill.

The Skyhawk offensive line gained great experience last season, as sophomores Matt Sheehan (Nashua, N.H./Nashua), Paolo Lambresa (Everett, Mass./Everett), Alex Thompson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln), Joseph Tashash (Greenville, R.I./Smithfield), Tom Bethoney (Hanover, Mass./Boston College) and Andrew Warmington (Centerville, Mass./Barnstable) anchored the line for much of the 2004 campaign. Sophomore Kevin Doyle (Pembroke, Mass./Boston College) will also be looking for a spot on the offensive line after moving over from the linebacking corps this fall.

DEFENSE. The linebacking corps has always been a strength of the Stonehill defensive unit, and that should hold true once again in 2005 with the return of senior Samir Chenaif (Framingham, Mass./Framingham), who was the squad’s leading tackler in 2004 with a combined 67 stops, including 40 solo and 11 for losses for 29 yards. Sophomore Mike DeBye (Burlington, Mass./Austin Prep) and junior Mike Furey (Weatogue, Conn./Simsbury) also enjoyed solid seasons last fall and will help anchor the linebackers, as DeBye registered 50 total tackles (38 solo) during his rookie season and Furey chipped in with 54 total tackles (31 solo) while leading Stonehill with four sacks. Junior Paddy Carty (Ocala, Fla./Belleview) looks to contribute after being limited by injury last fall, while sophomores Jabari Prince (Mendon, Mass./Milford) and Steve Rollins (Beverly, Mass./Beverly) will look to impact the Skyhawk fortunes as well.

Junior Tony Pires (Taunton, Mass./Taunton) leads a solid Stonehill defensive line, as he shared the team tackles lead with Chenaif last season in notching 67 total stops (37 solo) and 1 1/2 sacks. Senior Peter Gati (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central) lends additional experience after recording 26 tackles (15 solo) in 2004, while juniors Paul Brissenden (Waltham, Mass./Trinity-Pawling) and Chris Allen (Norwood, Mass./Norwood) combined for 35 total tackles a year ago, with Brissenden adding 2 1/2 sacks. Sophomores Mike Gannon (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) and Tony Camarota (Hudson, Mass./Hudson) will also be looking for an increased role on the Skyhawk defensive line after combining for four tackles in 13 contests during their respective rookie campaigns.

The Stonehill secondary will also be an experienced unit, as junior Vincent Delaney (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) returns after notching 60 total tackles (36 solo) and a pair of interceptions last fall. Sophomore J.J. Niamkey (Quincy, Mass./Quincy) made an immediate impact in recording 30 tackles (25 solo) and leading the squad with three interceptions, while senior Andy Pessotti (Milford, Mass./Milford) also provides a veteran presence after notching 25 total stops (21 solo) in 2004. Sophomore Dana Burris (Boston, Mass./Burke) and junior Tom Davis (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) provide additional depth after combining for 45 tackles and four pass breakups, while sophomore Chris Regan (Hanson, Mass./Boston College) moves from his linebacking spot to the safety position after recording 14 total tackles (seven solo) during his rookie season.

SPECIAL TEAMS. Sophomore Sean Donahue (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth) returns to handle the kicking and punting duties for Stonehill after connecting for three field goals and eight extra points as a freshman, including the game-winning field goal in the September 11th triumph at Pace. Donahue averaged 35.6 yards per punt in 53 attempts as well on the year with a long of 56 yards to go with 14 kicks inside of the opponents’ 20-yard line. In addition, Donahue saw time in the defensive backfield during his rookie campaign, as he notched an interception and broke up two additional passes during his stint. Sophomore Brett Perrone (Southington, Conn./Southington) will challenge Donahue for both of the Skyhawk kicking chores, as he averaged 33.3 yards per punt in 18 attempts with a long of 51 yards. Niamkey led Stonehill in kickoff return yardage with 333 yards (22.2 per return) last fall, while Pessotti looks to be the primary punt returner for the Skyhawks after averaging a team-high 9.7 yards per return in 2004.

With an experienced veteran crew back in the fold, coupled with the largest group of newcomers in nearly a decade expected in camp, the building of the Stonehill football program is progressing quite nicely under Chris Woods’s watch. The Skyhawks begin the 2005 campaign on Saturday, September 3rd by heading to Worcester, Mass. to take on Northeast-10 foe Assumption at 1:00 p.m. EDT, and Stonehill will play its inaugural contest in brand new W.B. Mason Stadium on Saturday, September 10th in hosting Pace in a Noon EDT kickoff.