BY CORY NIDOH
SC Staff Writer
There was a different feel to the atmosphere this past Saturday at East Stroudsburg University.
A sea of red and black flowed over campus as alumni young and old came to take part in Homecoming. Homecoming festivities took place such as the parade, Warrior Spirit night and the homecoming court was announced.
But there might not be a bigger event then the Homecoming football game. Saturday afternoon football is a staple in colleges across the country. The stadiums are packed, the band is blasting and the game has higher intensity.
The Warriors who have been on the road more than they have been home thus far this season, got a chance to play in front of a very excited, spirited and supporting home crowd along with alumni.
The Warriors didn’t disappoint their fans as they posted a 52-28 victory over Lock Haven University. ESU was up 7-0 after Junior tailback Gerald Van De Cruz punched the ball in from the one yard line and ended the first quarter up 10-7.
Once the 2nd quarter began, that’s when the Warriors offense really started clicking. Redshirt Sophomore quarterback Matt Soltes connected with a 30-yard pass to Junior wide receiver Ray Dominguez, a 28-yarder to Redshirt Senior wide receiver Robert Bleiler and Sophomore Tim Wilson for three of four touchdown passes in the game. Van De Cruz would add his second one-yard scoring run of the day to give the Warriors a lead they would never relinquish.
In the third quarter, the Warriors continued to carve the Bald Eagles defense.
With a little less than eight and a half minutes left in 3rd quarter, Van De Cruz scored his third touchdown of the day. Later in the 3rd, Soltes found his favorite target in Bleiler and connected for a 99 yard touchdown capping the Warriors scoring as they put up 52 points in three quarters and would cruise to victory.
Soltes who has been carving his name in the ESU and PSAC record books all season long added his name again with his performance. Soltes compiled 536 yards of total offense in less than three quarters as he tossed for 462 yards and four scores while adding 74 yards with his legs.
It was Soltes became the third quarterback in PSAC history with multiple 500+ yard games in a season. Soltes is ranked 14th in all of Division II in passing yards, tied for 6th with 24 passing touchdowns and 19th in passing yards per game as he is just shy of averaging 300 yards through the air.
Van De Cruz along with freshman tailback Robert Healy added a dynamic one-two punch in the backfield as Van De Cruz had 75 yards on 14 carries and three scores while Healy had 89 yards on 16 carries.
Redshirt Sophomore Jon Schnaars had five catches for 118 yards.
Defensively, the Warriors have been very good when it comes to forcing turnovers. Led by Sophomore cornerback Teron Dobbs who had his fourth interception of the season. He now has seven in 17 career games.
The Warriors as a team now have forced 20 takeaways, which is more than all of last season.
As part of Homecoming, ESU welcomed a new class to their Athletic Hall of Fame. During halftime, East Stroudsburg University introduced their 36th class to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame as they honored six athletes and the outstanding men’s gymnastics team.
There were two former football players that were inducted as well. Steve Mummaw ’72 and Kevin Nagle ’00. Mummaw was a two year starter at the quarterback position from 1970-71.
He set school record for completions that has yet to fall as he completed 38 out of 57 passes in a loss to Division I Lafayette.
Nagle, a defensive havoc, led the Warriors in tackles while playing from 1997-2000 and is 2nd in school history with 477 career tackles. He also had double-figure tackles in 20 consecutive games during his career.
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