A brief look into the Mountain East Conference following week 1 of 2022 season
Notre Dame College projected to finish 1st in preseason poll
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - The Mountain East Conference kicked off play last week, giving teams the opportunity to showcase themselves against a wide variety of teams prior to conference play. Prior to the season, Fairmont State was the highest ranked area team in the 2022 Preseason MEC Poll.
Fairmont State University Falcons
Week 1 Opponent - California University of Pennsylvania
Result: L 15-35
Standout Week One Players: QB Michael Floria, WR Donte Cloude, DB Jovon Jackson
Fairmont State University started its season off with a tough loss to California (PA). The Vulcans finished last season 9-1, defeating the Falcons in the season opener in 2021 as well, showcasing a team that is a tough test to open the year.
In 2021, Fairmont State finished the year 5-5 in MEC play, showing signs of improvement with wins against Glenville State and Wheeling to close out the season. In their first contest of 2022, Fairmont State was able to score in every quarter except for the first, showing signs of improvement as the game went on offensively. The first five drives for the Falcons resulted in punts, but the final four drives saw three scoring drives (2 TD, 1 FG) and an extension past the first four downs in each phase.
Prior to the season, head coach Jason Woodman stated that his team has grown, but that they’re still sophomore players.
“We’ve gotten a good core group of our guys back,” said coach Woodman. “But the sad part is a lot of those guys are sophomores. A lot of those young guys have game experience. It reminds me of my second year when we were rebuilding a lot of things. We have a lot of good pieces in place and we are confident in our guys.”
Fairmont State only has 2 seniors on its roster - DB Anthony Fordham and DE Christopher Thompson. With the only senior leadership for the team coming from the defensive side of the ball, Fairmont State is challenged to find a leader offensively.
“I think that the more they grow, the more football that they play, the more they are maturing and picking up that leadership role,” said coach Woodman on his young core.
Quarterback Michael Floria has seemed to step into that role so far for the Falcons. In week 1, he amassed 156 yards in 8 completions.
However, despite the youth, the team returns 13 starters from last year.
“On the mental side of things, as a team, I think that we are all bought into the theories and the things that we want to achieve.”
Defensively, the team was led in tackles in week one by DB Jovon Jackson. He posted 14 combined tackles, 5 of which were solo. Junior DL Randy Robinson led the way for the defensive front, posting a half sack and a TFL.
While FSU struggled to find punishing plays against Cal (PA), the team will look to contend this season. Even if things were to go south in 2022, the Falcons have over 30 freshmen players to develop in upcoming years.
Glenville State University Pioneers
Week 1 Opponent - Quincy University
Result: W 44-15
Standout Week One Players: QB Jeff Miller, WR Javian Bellamy, DL Marion Lawson
Glenville State University began its 2022 campaign with a statement win over Quincy. Quarterback Jeff Miller posted 341 yards and 4 TDs on only 14 completions in the contest, good for MEC Player of the Week for the first week of action. Of course, he currently leads all MEC QBs in every major statistical category.
For the Pioneers, nine receivers caught passes from Miller against Quincy. For comparison, WVU quarterback JT Daniels connected with only 7 receivers against Pitt despite throwing nearly double the passes that Miller did in week one.
“We look like a college football team,” said head coach Mike Kellar. “We have some guys that pass the eyeball test.”
Glenville State has a core group of wide receivers, including Javian Bellamy (119 yards on 3receptions) that is able to make so many fantastic plays due to depth alone.
“The preseason standings don’t mean anything,” said coach Kellar on being ranked ninth in the preseason. Based on the team’s performance in week one, the team is looking to prove everyone wrong.
West Virginia Wesleyan College Bobcats
Week 1 Opponent - Saginaw Valley State
Result: L 0-72
Standout Week One Players: DB Ely Ghameshlougy, RB Amani Woods, DB Wayne Brooks
Following a shutout loss against Saginaw Valley State, the Bobcats are likely searching for identity on the offensive side of the ball. In the loss, QB Nathan Payne appeared to be a player that head coach Dwayne Martin had trust in. Payne recorded 17 pass attempts, playing deep into the contest despite the deficit.
In the run game, nine players combined for 31 rushing attempts. Amani Woods led the way with 24 yards and 3.4 yards per carry. For the receivers, WR Evin Hurt and RB Amani Woods were the only players to record multiple receptions in the contest.
Defensively, DB Ely Ghameshlougy led the way for the Bobcats with 12 tackles while DB Wayne Brooks showed flashes, recording 2.5 tackles for loss of over 13 yards.
The Bobcats were chosen to finish last in the conference in 2022, but that is likely due to the wealth of youth that this team possesses and the recent history of the program.
For Dwayne Martin, 2022 is his second season. Last year, he was hired right before the season began, allowing him to finally find his footing as head coach of the program.
“This year, getting our guys to understand expectations is the number one thing,” said Coach Martin.
The team only has 5 seniors on the roster. The team last won in 2019, giving the Bobcats the knowledge that there is no where to go but up this season.
Alderson Broaddus University Battlers
Week 1 Opponent - Mercyhurst
Result: L 28-45
Standout Week One Players: RB David Alize, RB Dustin Shoaf, OLB Michael Schweinefuss
Alderson Broaddus football started the preseason projected to finish 11th in the MEC. For head coach Travis Everhart, he sees that as a challenge for his team.
““It’s about where you finish. I’m glad they picked us at 11th,” said coach Everhart. “I’m surprised they didn’t pick us at 12th. Either way, it’s going to motivate our kids. We’re not an 11th place ballclub.”
In week one, the team was highlighted by the pair of running backs David Alize and Dustin Shoaf. The two combined for 200 yards rushing on a whopping 42 attempts, splitting carries in half. The RB by committee style proved to be an advantage for the Battlers despite the loss. Alize averaged 6 yards per carry, including a long of 50 and 2 TDs.
In the air attack, Michael Lowery completed 12 of his 27 passes for 158 yards and 2 TDs, but he also threw 3 INTs. In the event that the Battlers are able to clean up some mistakes that gave Lowery so much pressure in the pocket, the team could be a potent offense in the MEC as a whole.
Defensively, Michael Schweinefuss was credited with 10 solo tackles in week one alongside Garrion Corbin Jr., who had 7. Alderson Broaddus held Mercyhurst to 14 points in the second half, only losing the half by one score. As the season goes on, the Battlers have potential to exceed expectations with the cleaning up of a few mistakes.
2022 MEC Preseason Football Poll
1. Notre Dame College (10) - 119
2. Frostburg State (2) - 108
3. Charleston - 99
4. UNC Pembroke - 93
5. West Virginia State - 74
6. Fairmont State - 73
7. Concord - 54
8. Wheeling - 52
9. Glenville State - 49
10. West Liberty - 39
11. Alderson Broaddus - 21
12. West Virginia Wesleyan - 11
( ) Indicates first-place votes
*Coaches not permitted to vote for own team
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