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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's non-conference marks the 23rd meeting between McDaniel (0-0) and Catholic (0-0) in a series that dates back to 1912. The Green Terror leads the all-time series 13-9 but the Cardinals have won five of the last six meetings, including in overtime last year. The lone McDaniel win during the stretch was a 34-31 victory in Washington, D.C. in 2014.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Catholic rallied from a 21-6 deficit to defeat McDaniel 28-21 in overtime in the 2016 season opener. Ray Doh (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) led the Green Terror on defense with seven tackles, including two for loss, and two pass breakups. John Chamberlin (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) led the offense with 75 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Jorge Pola completed 23 of 43 passes for the Cardinals, throwing for 246 yards in his first start at quarterback.
LAST TIME OUT: Johns Hopkins, ranked ninth by d3football.com at the time, built a 41-7 halftime en route to a 48-28 victory over McDaniel to close the 2016 regular season. Ben Kahn (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove Area) led the Green Terror with 12 tackles. Matt Cathey (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) had a pair of touchdown, scoring on a 10-yard run and returning one of two blocked punts six yards for a score. Jon Germano threw for 326 yards on 27 of 31 passing for the Blue Jays, who wrapped up their fourth straight undefeated regular season.
WITH HONORS: The Green Terror returns two of its three all-conference selections from a year ago. Claude Richardson, who was a second-team honoree at linebacker, graduated. However, Paul Flagg (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) and Perry Stefanelli (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) return after being tabbed honorable mention in 2016. Flagg, from his left guard position, anchored an offensive line that was key to a rushing attack that averaged 126.0 yards per game. Stefanelli, a running back, was honored for his prowess in the return game. He averaged 19.8 yards on 29 kickoff returns and 9.2 yards on 17 punt returns.
LEADING THE WAY: Bamasa Bailor (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle Area), Vince Gorgone (Clarksville, Md./Good Counsel) and Drew Scott (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.) will captain the squad in 2017. Gorgone is a two-time captain after also leading the squad as a junior while Bailor and Scott are first-time captains.
OPENING STATEMENTS: The Green Terror begins its 123rd season of football this afternoon, entering play with a 63-53-6 record on opening day. This is the seventh straight season McDaniel has opened the season with Catholic, following a single game with Juniata, a home-and-home series with St. Vincent and 12-year series with Bridgewater.
10 OUT OF 11 AIN'T BAD: The Green Terror returns 10 of its 11 offensive starters from a year ago. Those 10 players combined to make 92 of the 110 available starts. All told, McDaniel returns 99 of its 110 starts from last season. Will Koester (Purcellville, Va./Woodgrove) opens as the starting signal caller after starting under center in the final nine games last season. Paul Flagg, Vince Gorgone and Jared Staub (Union Bridge, Md./Francis Scott Key) all started all 10 games on the line last year while Perry Stefanelli started all 10 games at tailback. Bamasa Bailor, Andre Henry, Jr. (Frederick, Md./Urbana) and Breon Herbert (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) combined to each start every game at their respective receiver position. Taylor Wagner (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) made six starts at B-Back while Patrick Bartlett (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) got the nod three times and Dante Moss (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) once. Michael Martucci (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) started seven games at center and gets the week-one nod while John Linnehan (Camp Hill, Pa./East Pennsboro) made the other three starts in the middle of the line.
GOTTA GET DEFENSIVE: The defense will not be as experienced to open 2017 as the offense is. McDaniel returns just five starters to the lineup from a year ago. Ray Doh will anchor the defensive line after being the Green Terror's top threat up front in 2016. He had 46 tackles last season, including five sacks and three fumble recoveries. He also swatted down eight passes. Drew Scott is back to anchor the linebackers. He led all defenders last season with 73 tackles that included eight or more in each of the five games after the bye. He also had a team-high 10.0 tackles for loss. The secondary will have the most experience of any defensive unit with Ben Kahn, Cole Branche (Hampton, N.J./Voorhees) and Chris Inge (Dalron, N.J./Williamstown) all returning to patrol the defensive backfield. Kahn was second on the team with 67 tackles. Branche added 49 stops and a team-best three interceptions. Inge was the top cover corner last year, finishing with 35 tackles, five breakups and two interceptions in nine games.
KICKING IT: Spencer Wiersberg (Salisbury, Md./J.M. Bennett) will once again handle kicking duties in 2017. He went 6-for-10 in field-goal attempts last season and was 23-for-25 in extra-point attempts. Among his six field goals was a career-long 43-yarder as time expired to defeat Urinus and snap the team's then-22-game losing streak.
NEW FACES: While Mike Dailey and his three full-time coordinators remain in place for 2017, nearly the rest of the staff turned over in the offseason. Jamie Unger returns to lead the position he played so well for the Green Terror and coached from 2009-14. It will be his seventh season coaching the receivers. Tyler DeMent and Matt Quattrone join the staff to coach the same position they played for Dailey. DeMent will coach the receivers with Unger while Quattrone leads the outside linebackers and rovers. Nate Marr sticks around to coach the running backs after spending two years as a student assistant on staff. Chris Labidou rounds out Chris Bassler's offensive staff, coaching the tight ends, while Tyrone Saterfield completes DeMarcus White's defensive staff, coaching the defensive line.
TERROR TIDBITS: McDaniel has 47 freshmen on the opening-day roster – part of the record 123-man roster… The Green Terror improved more than eight points per game defensively under DeMarcus White last season, dropping its scoring defense from a conference-worst 40.8 points per game to 32.0 points per game, which ranked sixth.
COACHES' CORNER: Mike Dailey enters his second season at the helm of the Green Terror. He posted a 3-7 record in his debut campaign as the head man after seven seasons as an assistant on the staff. Dailey joined the Green Terror staff in 2009 with a pedigree of success at all levels of football that included compiling a record of 115-83 and two championships in 12 years as a head coach in the Arena Football League (AFL), leading the Albany Firebirds and Colorado Crush that included winning league titles in 1999 and 2005. For his first six seasons on the McDaniel sidelines, he served as defensive coordinator. His scheme put pressure on opposing quarterbacks game-in and game-out, recording 101 sacks and 55 interceptions. He helped produce 12 All-Centennial Conference selections, including four first-team nods. In 2015, Dailey shifted responsibilities to the offensive side of the ball – something he is renowned for from his days in the AFL. He spent last season coordinating the pass game and working specifically with the wide receivers… Mike Gutelius opens his first season as head coach this afternoon, joining Catholic with more than two decades of coaching experience that includes 14 years as a coordinator. A 1992 alumnus, he served the last seven seasons as defensive coordinator at Lindsey Wilson, helping guide the program to three straight NAIA Football Championship Series appearances. He was selected as the 2015 American Football Coaches Association NAIA Assistant of the Year. Before Lindsey Wilson, Gutelius spent six seasons as Concord's (W.Va.) assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Prior to Concord, he spent two seasons as defensive ends coach at Wingate. He has also coached at La Verne and St. Norbert. Additionally, Gutelius has also coached at Catholic, joining the staff immediately after graduation and spent one season as an assistant coach in 1992.
THE WORD ON CATHOLIC: The Cardinals enter the 2017 season off its third straight 3-7 campaign… After playing 2016 with an interim head coach, Catholic opens the year with a new head coach. Mike Gutelius, a 1992 graduate, takes over the realms as the 30th coach in program history… The Cardinals started 2016 with three straight wins before dropping the final seven contests of the season – only two of which came by single digits… Alejandro Ros returns to quarterback the offense after completing 47 percent of his passes for 1,250 yards last year. He threw for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions… However, he lost his top four receiving threats. The Cardinals graduated 1,770 of its 2,330 receiving yards (75.97 percent)… The top returning target in the passing game is Nick Esposito, who caught 18 passes out of the backfield. Esposito returns after running for 349 yards on 95 carries. He had four rushing scores… Patrick Vidal returns to anchor the defense after being a second-team All-ODAC selection in 2016. The defensive lineman was fourth in the league with 6.5 sacks among his 10.5 tackles for loss and 49 total tackles… Traditionally a high-powered offense, the Cardinals ranked eighth in the eight-team ODAC last season in scoring (21.6 points per game) and total yards (321.3 yards per game). Catholic was seventh in scoring defense (33.9) and total defense (440.4).