Football Returns To W.B. Mason Stadium Saturday Afternoon As Skyhawks Host Iona In Non-League Contest

September 23, 2005

2005 Stonehill College Football

Game #4: Iona (1-2) at Stonehill (2-1)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

W.B. Mason Stadium, Easton, Massachusetts

2:00 p.m. EDT

THE GAME: Stonehill looks to get back on the winning track this afternoon as the Skyhawks host the Division I-AA Iona Gaels in a non-league match-up. Stonehill enters today’s action after suffering its first setback of the young season last Saturday afternoon, as the Skyhawks dropped a 56-7 Northeast-10 Conference decision to LIU-C.W. Post at Hickox Field in Brookville, N.Y. Senior Mike Plichta (Milford, Mass./Milford) accounted for the lone Stonehill touchdown of the afternoon, as he hauled in a 19-yard scoring pass from freshman quarterback Jon Kaloyanides (Cranston, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) in the third quarter, Plichta’s third touchdown reception in as many games this season. Junior Vincent Delaney (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) paced the Skyhawks defensively with 11 total tackles, including seven solo stops, while recording an interception that he returned 25 yards. Iona enters today’s action after dropping a 38-14 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference decision to Sacred Heart last Saturday afternoon at Mazzella Field in New Rochelle, N.Y.

THE SERIES: Today’s game marks the first-ever meeting between Stonehill and Iona on the gridiron. The Skyhawks and Gaels are scheduled to meet for each of the next four seasons.

THE SKYHAWKS: Junior Cliff Mason II (Santa Ana, Calif./Santa Ana Valley) leads Stonehill with 145 rushing yards and one touchdown, while sophomore Greg Borsari (Kingston, Mass./Plymouth North) has completed 30-of-62 passes for 307 yards and a pair of scores. Plichta has hauled in 13 receptions for 210 yards and three touchdowns, while Delaney and freshman Jeff Cuqua (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) each have 20 tackles for the Skyhawks to date.

THE GAELS: Junior Rudy Arcara leads Iona with 240 rushing yards and one touchdown, while senior Michael Biehl has completed 25-of-69 passes for 362 yards and two scores. Senior Matt Miller has 11 receptions for 177 yards and one touchdown, while junior Adam Lipski paces the Gaels defensively with 33 total tackles, including 11 solo stops.

HEAD COACH CHRIS WOODS: Chris Woods is in his second season as Head Football Coach at Stonehill College. A 1991 graduate of Davidson, Woods is the fifth varsity head football coach in the program’s history and came to Easton after earning 2003 American Football Coaches Association Division II Regional Coach of the Year accolades after guiding Mansfield (Pa.) to an 8-3 mark in 2003. Woods, who sports a 4-8 (.333) mark at Stonehill and a 17-26 (.395) career collegiate mark in four-plus seasons, is assisted by Bill Garvey, Tom Pileski, Mark Nutley, Tom MacDonald, Odell Jones, Ryan Picken and Jason Fernald. Woods has never previously faced Iona during his career.

HEAD COACH FRED MARIANI: Fred Mariani is in his eighth season as Head Football Coach at Iona College. A 1974 graduate of Saint Joseph’s (Ind.), Mariani has guided the Gaels to an overall mark of 32-44 (.421) during his tenure, and he is assisted by Ed Lynett, Bart Grachan, Omar King, Johan Williams, John Colonna, David DeAmato, Joe Todd and Cedric Johnson. Mariani has never previously faced Stonehill during his career.

AYE, AYE CAPTAINS: Senior Ryan Griffith (Hanson, Mass./Whitman-Hanson) and junior Mike Furey (Weatogue, Conn./Simsbury) have been named as co-captains for the 2005 edition of Stonehill football. Griffith amassed 159 yards of total offense last season and is a threat both as a rusher and receiver, while Furey ranked fifth on the team in total tackles in 2004 with 54 stops, including 31 solo tackles and four sacks.

STEPPING UP: Today’s game with Iona marks the 15th contest that Stonehill will play against a team classified in NCAA Division I-AA play currently, as the Skyhawks are 8-6 in their previous 14 match-ups. Stonehill’s last game against a I-AA foe came in the 2003 season opener against Northeastern, which came in as the top-ranked team in the nation in I-AA play.

FAST START: Stonehill’s 2-0 start was its second straight under Chris Woods, as the last time the Skyhawks began consecutive campaigns at 2-0 came in 1996 and 1997.

OFF TO THE RACES: Sophomore Mike DeBye’s (Burlington, Mass./Austin Prep) 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the September 4th season-opening win at Assumption tied the Stonehill record for longest interception return, as Matt Walsh also turned the trick for a touchdown in 1999, ironically also at Assumption. DeBye, who added eight total tackles in the triumph, was named as the Northeast-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Week on September 6th.

THE OPENING LINE: Stonehill is now 6-12 in 18 varsity season openers, as the Skyhawks are 3-6 in home openers and 3-6 in road openers over that time span. Stonehill has now won consecutive season openers for the first time since 1996-1997, as the Skyhawks also bested Assumption in those contests.

W.B. MASON STADIUM: Stonehill’s new, multi-purpose athletic facility on campus, the W. B. Mason Stadium at Stonehill College, was formally dedicated on September 10th prior to the Skyhawks’ home opener against Pace. W.B. Mason President and CEO Leo Meehan, who is also a Stonehill trustee and alumnus, announced that the Company and its alumni employees have committed $1.5 million toward cost of the almost $4 million project. In a location just north of the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex, the 2,400-seat W.B. Mason Stadium at Stonehill College is one of the premier athletic facilities in the Northeast 10-Conference. The multi-purpose outdoor facility has a 400-meter, eight-lane track, artificial turf, specialty areas for track and field events, and lighting for evening use, as the playing field itself was dedicated as well as Timothy J. Coughlin Memorial Field, a member of Stonehill’s Class of 1980 and former football standout. The Skyhawk football, field hockey and reigning NCAA national champion women’s lacrosse teams will play their games at W.B. Mason Stadium, which will also serve as the home for Stonehill men’s and women’s track and field.

THE ALL-TIME LEDGER: In 17-plus varsity seasons of competition, Stonehill has compiled an overall record of 68-91-3 (.429) while capturing three Eastern Collegiate Football Conference championships in 1989, 1991 and 1995. Thirty-six of those victories came during the six-year tenure of former head coach Connie Driscoll.

THE NORTHEAST-10 CONFERENCE: Stonehill will compete in football for the fifth straight season under the umbrella of the Northeast-10 Conference, which is comprised of Division II institutions from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Other football-playing members of the Northeast-10, which evolved from the Eastern Football Conference, are American International, Assumption, Bentley, Bryant, LIU-C.W. Post, Merrimack, Pace, Saint Anselm and Southern Connecticut.

SKYHAWK TALK: Stonehill picked up its second straight and third overall victory in the nine-game series with Pace with the September 10th triumph over the Setters, as for the fifth time in the last six seasons the meeting between the two squads was decided on the game’s final play…The September 4th victory was Stonehill’s 13th in 18 varsity series meetings with Assumption…With his 102-yard effort in the season-opener against Assumption, Mason II became the first Stonehill rusher to amass 100 yards in a game since Bob Powell turned the trick with 114 yards in last year’s season opening triumph over Assumption…Sophomore J.J. Niamkey (Quincy, Mass./Quincy) also recorded an interception in the September 4th win at Assumption, his fourth career pick…Sophomore Sean Donahue (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth) has converted has of his career field goals against Pace, including the game-winning kick in the final minute of the 2004 contest in Pleasantville …Woods joined Connie Driscoll as the only two coaches to be victorious in their Stonehill debuts with last year’s triumph over Assumption. Driscoll captured his first contest in 1993 with a 36-6 win over Nichols…The 1995 Stonehill Football team will be inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame on September 30th, as the ECFC champions of that season posted nine victories and ended rival Bentley’s 37-game winning streak in the process…Stonehill is 33-46-2 (.420) in 81 home outings and 36-45-1 (.445) in 82 road contests since the inception of varsity football in 1988.

SKYHAWKS ON THE WEB: For the second straight year, Stonehill Football contests will be broadcast live via Free Teamline, a service provided by Teamline/TRZ Sports Services of Kent, Ohio. By logging-on to the Stonehill’s Official Athletics web site of (powered by Presto Sports), listeners can follow all of the action of Skyhawk Football on the internet free of charge. The Stonehill Football webcasts will be broadcast live by the longtime Metro South radio duo of Charlie Bergeron and Bill Carpenter, who called Brockton High football on WBET Radio in Brockton for six years. Bergeron, who is also the voice of Stonehill Basketball, has been a part of the Metro South sports scene for over three decades, while Carpenter is a veteran of the local sports scene at all levels. All 10 Skyhawk games will be available via Free Teamline.

2005 STONEHILL FOOTBALL WEBCAST SCHEDULE: Here is the list of remaining 2005 Stonehill College football webcasts, which includes all 10 Skyhawk regular season contests:

Saturday, September 24 Iona at Stonehill 2:00

Saturday, October 1 Saint Anselm at Stonehill 1:00

Saturday, October 8 Stonehill at Bryant 1:00

Saturday, October 15 Bentley at Stonehill 2:00

Saturday, October 22 Stonehill at Southern Connecticut 1:00

Saturday, October 29 American International at Stonehill Noon

Saturday, November 5 Stonehill at Merrimack 12:30

AROUND THE NORTHEAST-10 TODAY: LIU-C.W. Post at Saint Anselm 1:00

Pace at Bryant 1:00

WHO’S NEXT: Stonehill closes out a two-game homestand next Saturday, October 1st when the Skyhawks entertain Saint Anselm in a Northeast-10 Conference outing here at W.B. Mason Stadium. Kickoff as part of Homecoming festivities is set for 1:00 p.m. EDT.