Warriors Set for Home Opener

Photo Courtesy / ESUWarriors.com
The Warriors face off against Slippery Rock on Saturday at 6:05PM. Photo Courtesy / ESUWarriors.com
The Warriors face off against Slippery Rock on Saturday at 6:05PM.
Photo Courtesy / ESUWarriors.com

By Nick Granados
Sports Editor

After a comeback win against LIU Post last week, the Warriors are back in East Stroudsburg, where they will take on Slippery Rock in their home opener on Saturday night.

The Warriors are coming off of a thrilling win in which they rallied back from a 35-23 deficit and scored 20 unanswered points to win 43-35.

After setting numerous records last year, redshirt Junior quarterback Matt Soltes was named PSAC East Offensive Player of the Week.

Soltes went 19-34 with 384 yards—his tenth career game with over 300 passing yards—four touchdowns and one interception, as well as 13 rushes for 83 yards and a rushing touchdown.

With his 83 rushing yards, Soltes now has 1,091 career rushing yards by a QB, passing current Penn State head coach James Franklin.

Soltes is also the only Harlon Hill Trophy Candidate returning from Super Region 1.

Senior tailback Gerald Van De Cruz and redshirt sophomore tailback Robert Healy combined for 25 carries, 108 yards, and a touchdown (15 caries, 57 yards and a touchdown for Van De Cruz and 51 yards on 10 carries for Healy.)

Healy also hauled in four receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns, which was second among all ESU receivers.

The Warriors completed their comeback with 2:28 left in the fourth quarter when Soltes connected with senior wide receiver Dusty Reed for a 50-yard touchdown.

Reed led all Warriors receivers with 126 yards and one touchdown, which came on the aforementioned gamewinning play.

Junior wide receiver Gerard Wendowski, redshirt senior tight end Steven Jones, and redshirt Senior wide receiver Jon Schnaars rounded out the Warriors receiving with 6 receptions for 81 yards, 3 receptions for 49 yards, and 2 receptions for 25 yards respectively.

Freshman kicker Matt Smith converted 4 of his 5 extra point attempts, as well as a 25 yard field goal, in his Warriors debut.

Seven players will be making their first home start of their ESU career: redshirt Junior fullback Sam Benson, Junior wide receiver Gerard Wendowski, Sophomore left tackle Fran McMenamin, redshirt Freshman left guard Devon Ackerman, redshirt Freshman center John Appice, redshirt Senior defensive lineman Josh Przywara, and freshman safety Marc Gaudet.

When the Warriors take to the field at Eiler-Martin Stadium on Saturday, it will mark the twelfth time overall, and first time since 2009, that ESU head coach Denny Douds faces his alma mater.

Slippery Rock is 8-3 against Douds. However, ESU has won the last two meetings between the schools, winning 54-28 in 2009 at home, and 38-21 at Slippery Rock in 2008.

The game will be broadcast on Blue Ridge TV-13, as well as on WatchESPN.com.

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