Frostburg State begins its 45th season of football with Saturday's road contest against Apprentice. The Bobcats have opened their last three seasons against the Builders and are 3-0 in those contests.
ON THE AIR
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on FSU 91.9 WFRM and on the internet at both www.futuremediaworld.com and www.wfwm.org. Join Jeff Krone and Bernie Wynder as they call another year of exciting Bobcat football action. The pregame show will start 15 minutes prior to kickoff each week.
Frostburg State is 20-23-1all-time in season openers and has won four straight, seven of eight and 10 of its last 12 to start the season. FSU's last season-opening loss was a 24-7 setback at Central Connecticut State in 2000. Since 1975, the Bobcats are 8-8-1 when opening a season on the road.
Frostburg State owns a 9-3-1 lead in the all-time series versus Apprentice. However, the Bobcats are just 3-2-1 against the Builders on the road.
The Bobcats should get an enormous boost by the return of defensive end Kevin Culbert. The 6-5, 235-pound senior missed the final seven games of last year due to a hand injury but was an All-America selection as a junior when he made 80 tackles, including 22 for loss and 10 sacks. Culbert was a 2004 Preseason All-America pick by Don Hansen's Football Gazette (first team), Lindy's Football Magazine (second team) and D3football.com (second team).
Senior defensive end Kevin Culbert is one of eight returning starters on the defensive unit; five are back on the offensive side.
ON THE REBOUND
Frostburg State looks to rebound from a 2-8 finish in 2004, its worst mark since an identical 2-8 showing in 1991.
Frostburg State has won three ACFC championships (1999, 2002 & 2003) in the league's six-year history. Wesley has won two crowns (2000 & 2001), while Salisbury has captured one (2004).
WHAT THE COACHES ARE SAYING
Salisbury is picked to repeat as Atlantic Central Football Conference champions according to the 2005 ACFC Preseason Coaches Poll. The Sea Gulls earned four first-place votes to outdistance 2004 runner-up Wesley, who was picked second and garnered one first-place vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. SUNY Brockport was picked third while Frostburg State and Buffalo State were in a tie for fourth and The Apprentice School was picked sixth.
2005 ACFC Preseason Coaches Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Salisbury 24 (4)
2. Wesley 21 (1)
3. SUNY Brockport 18
4T. Buffalo State 11
Frostburg State 11
6. Apprentice 5
Frostburg State is coached by Rubin Stevenson (Salisbury ‘87), who enters his sixth season at the helm of the Bobcat program. Stevenson is 21-28 in his five seasons and has led FSU to two ACFC championships (2002 & 2003), three Regents Cup titles (2001, 2002 & 2003 – awarded to the annual winner of the FSU-Salisbury game) and one ECAC Southwest Championship game appearance (2002). Stevenson was named the ACFC Coach of the Year in 2002 and was ACFC Co-Coach of the Year in 2003.
Apprentice head coach Phil Janaro (King’s 65) is in his fourth year of his second stint at the helm of the Builder football program. Janaro initially coached Apprentice to a 16-12 mark from 1985 to 1987, capping his stay with an 8-2 mark. The Builders are 10-20 in the last three-plus seasons (including last week’s win over NC Wesleyan) and are 26-32 overall under Janaro.
SCOUTING THE BUILDERS
Apprentice looks for its second consecutive win when it hosts Frostburg State Saturday afternoon. The Builders opened the season last Saturday with a 37-21 victory over North Carolina Wesleyan. The 37 points were the most scored by Apprentice in a season opener since 1996 when the Builders rang up 42 points on Swarthmore.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Franklin led the charge throwing for three touchdowns and running for another. Franklin was 11-of-17 for 142 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown strike to Travis Reid.
Junior fullback Ben Brown and freshman wide receiver Lawrence Frost were Franklin’s favorite targets against NC Wesleyan as Brown hauled in a team-high four passes for 27 yards while Frost caught three for 16 yards. Junior tailback Bruce Freeman led the ground attack with 26 carries for 121 yards and one score.
Defensively, sophomore cornerback Franako Smith had five tackles, three pass deflections and one interception in the victory over the Bishops. Senior linebacker Shamone Williams led the Builders with seven tackles and an impressive 3.5 tackles for loss.
Freshman kicker Hank Schmidt was named the ACFC Rookie of the Week after an impressive college debut. He was 4-of-5 on extra-points, put 4-of-7 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, averaged 43 yards per punt and had a 23-yard field goal in the victory.
Apprentice could give the Bobcats all they can handle with Freeman and fellow junior Theo Bryant highlighting a strong running back group. Freeman, a second team All-ACFC selection in 2004, finished last year with 759 yards rushing, while Bryant looks to improve on his 240-yard campaign last season.
Freeman will look to break the 100-yard barrier against FSU, a feat that a Builder hasn’t accomplished in the last five meetings.
Reid returns as the Builders’ top receiving threat in 2005 after catching 20 passes, averaging almost 20 yards per catch and scoring five touchdowns a year ago.
Pacing the defense is junior linebacker Leroy Bracey, who earned second-team All-ACFC honors in 2004 after posting 41 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss and five sacks.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303