Hawks off to 4-0 start, look ahead to NEC play

first_img BY DOMINICK RINELLI JR.Correspondent WEST LONG BRANCH – Facing off against Colgate University in their last nonconference game of the 2006 season, the Monmouth University Hawks football team defeated the Raiders 17-12 on the road to move to 4-0 on the year on Saturday – the first time since 2003 that the Blue and White have started out undefeated through four contests. “I was very happy with the way the entire team played,” said 14th-year head coach Kevin Callahan. “I thought it was a game where there were a lot of momentum shifts and our guys really stayed focused through all of those shifts.” Freshman running back David Sinisi rushed the ball in for two touchdowns to put Monmouth in front 14-0. The Hawks carried their two-touchdown advantage into the fourth quarter and within five minutes of play, Colgate cut the lead to two points. After a Fred Weingart field goal to increase the lead to five, the Raiders ensuing possession and final attempt to take the victory was halted as senior defensive back Derek Bischoff recorded his first career interception. Sinisi’s performance earned him his second Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week honors. Monmouth’s victory against Patriot League member Colgate marked their second win against a Patriot League team in 2006 – their first came on the road in their season opener versus Fordham, 23-9. “I think it’s an indication of exactly how far we’ve come and how much we’ve developed since year one,” said Callahan when asked about defeating two Patriot League squads. “I think to be able to go out and compete on an even basis with Patriot League teams and even beat Patriot League teams says an awful lot as to where our program is right now.” Next up on Monmouth’s schedule are seven consecutive Northeast Conference match-ups, including a televised contest at home against Central Connecticut State on Oct. 28. Callahan knows the magnitude of each conference game. “They’re all critically important and it’s great to win these nonconference games,” said Callahan. “The games that matter and count the most are the ones still in front of us.” With a total of 18 fourth- and fifth-year seniors on the Hawks’ roster, younger underclassmen have a variety of options when looking for leadership and motivation during the tough conference stretch. “I really believe that any time you have a successful season or campaign you need to have good, quality senior leadership,” said Callahan. “I think those guys have continued to motivate, to demonstrate commitment and when younger players see that it’s easy for them to get on board.” Senior quarterback Brian Boland, who has been averaging 190.0 yards per game through the air and has a quarterback rating of 139.0, has found much success with senior wide receiver Adam San Miguel. San Miguel is averaging seven receptions per game and 92.5 yards receiving. “They’ve had a good chemistry throughout the first four games,” replied Callahan when asked about the duo. Boland is not limited to looking to No. 88. Boland has displayed his ability to spread the ball to his teammates. “I think Brian really has an outstanding awareness of the field and knows where to put the ball,” said Callahan. In addition, the Hawks defense is nothing to glance over. Through their first four games, Monmouth has held their opponents to an average of 10.5 points per game and lead the NEC with a plus-six turnover margin. Seniors Anthony Addonizio of Holmdel, Mike Castellano of Freehold, Matt Hill and David Jiles have combined for 99 total tackles and five of the team’s seven interceptions. “The defense has gotten better each and every week throughout the first four games,” said Callahan. “It’s not an overly big group, but they are very quick and they get around the ball, and we’re tackling well right now.” Monmouth will play host to Stony Brook on Saturday at Kessler Field in West Long Branch, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m., as the Hawks begin their seven-game NEC stretch. Stony Brook is off to an 0-4 start with losses to Hofstra (17-8), Georgetown (7-0), New Hampshire (62-7) and Massachusetts (48-7). “It’s the most important part of the season. This is where the league championship will be decided along with our postseason opportunity,” said Callahan. BY DOMINICK RINELLI JR. Correspondent last_img

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