Blue Hose Football Opens 2012 Season Saturday against Brevard
The Presbyterian College football team steps onto the field for the first time at Bailey Memorial Stadium as full-fledged members of NCAA Division I this Saturday, Sept. 1. The Blue Hose begin their quest for a Big South Championship with a match-up against Brevard at 2 p.m.
The game, which is the season-opener for both teams, will be the first meeting between the Blue Hose and Tornados.
PC returns 17 starters and 34 letterwinners from 2011. Of the starters eight are on offense, six are on defense and three are from the special teams. Big South All-Conference players back for 2012 are Lance Byrd (2nd Team) and Patrick Morgano (2nd Team), as well as Freshman-of-the-Year Donelle Williams.
The 17 returning starters and 34 letterwinners are looking to capitalize on a record-setting 2011 season that saw the Blue Hose post the most overall (4) and league (3) wins in Division I history. While the offensive and defensive lines lost some heavy hitters in All-Conference members Max Travis, Brian Davis and Derren Evans, several upperclassmen are stepping in to fill the void with Tim Fowler, James Festa on the Offensive Line and Bryan Shepherd, Xavier Boatright and Joshua Polk on the Defensive Line.
Look for big things at wide receiver with the return of Jeremiah McKie and Michael Ruff. Anderico Bailey and Arthur Williams also bring much needed experience in that spot as well. Joey Gilkey and Joel Ruiz look to see even more playing time at tight end in 2012.
Donelle Williams, Mark Williams, L.J. Perry, Breyon Williams and Isaiah Lynn are back and will shore up the linebacker core with Fred Marshall, Frank Sherman and Nick Newton playing important roles at the safety spot. With experience in Bryan Shepherd and Parrish Walker at nose tackle and Antarius Terrell, and Cedric Byrd at corner back, the Blue Hose are hopeful for big stops on defense.
Special Teams are not a worry for the PC coaching staff. Now a senior, Patrick Morgano will handle the punting duties, with fellow senior Aaron Mayes taking field goals and extra points. Cannon Jordan filled in well at the long snapper position and will look to continue setting the ball up for Morgano.
Lance Byrd is just 51 yards away from reaching 2,000 career rushing yards and becoming the first PC player in Division I history to accomplish that feat. He already is tops in that category with 1,949, as well as first in rushing touchdowns with 14. Byrd is just 124 from 500 career rushing attempts.
Michael Ruff's nine TDs puts him second in the career record books, just five from Terrance Butler ('08) and his 14.
Patrick Morgano was named to the 2012 College Football Performance Awards Punter Award watch list. A Big South All-Conference selection in 2011, Morgano was also named CFPA Positional Performer of the Week.
The Blue Hose were picked to finish fourth in the Big South in 2012. The top three pre-season picks all come to Clinton this season with Liberty coming to town Oct. 13, Stony Brook Oct. 27 and Coastal Carolina Nov. 10.
PC introduces a new voice for football and basketball games with Eric Thacker coming on board as the Play-by-Play announcer. Thacker, who broadcast PC football games in the mid 90s, will be responsible for all play-by-play duties for PC athletics, as well as sponsorship sales and in-game promotions, as the Director of Broadcast Services. Thacker most recently served as Sports Director at Entercom Upstate in Greenville, S.C., where he was sports director and voice of Byrnes High School. Aside from his play-by-play duties, he was responsible for the creation of original sports programming, as well as live, on-air updates.
PC football has a new flagship station this season as WKRI-FM i91.9 will carry all the 2012 games. WKRI-FM is a non-commercial educational (NCE) FM station that broadcasts beach and classic oldies from the 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s. The broadcast can be heard in most of western South Carolina and the I-26 and I-85 corridors which include the cities of Abbeville, Anderson Clinton, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick and Newberry, as well as significant portions of Greenville, Spartanburg, Edgefield, Saluda and Union Counties. That represents a market of over 950,000 potential listeners.