Aug 26, 2018

2018 Football Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

 
  • One post-season appearance (1960 Crusader Bowl)
  • One AFCA Division III Coaches' All-American (Nolan Schuler, 2017)
  • One CoSIDA Academic All-American (Caleb Dalzell, 2017)
  • Two CoSIDA Academic All-District (Caleb Dalzell, 2017; Grant Schroeder, 2017)
  • Three D3football.com All-Americans
  • Four D3football.com All-Region Honorees
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes 
  • Five D3Football.com Team of the Week
  • Nine NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Awards 
  • One Cliff Harris Award Finalist (Charles Riga, 2017)
  • Two NSCA All-American (Justin Kruse, 2015; Dane Jensen, 2017)
  • Two NFL Draft Picks (Bob Hadlock and Randy Casey, 14th and 15th rounds respectively)
 

NEWBERG – For the first time in program history, the George Fox football team enters the 2018 season receiving votes in D3football.com's preseason top-25 poll.

Head coach Chris Casey is excited about the growth he's seen in this team and the program as a whole.

"We've built a very strong foundation here with some amazing guys coming through our program," Casey said. "We've been blessed and lucky enough to have a great group of guys help build this program into what it is today."

Seniors Charles Riga and Caleb Dalzell are two of many reasons the Bruins have found success so early on in the program's resurgence. The duo enters the 2018 season as the Bruins' first-ever D3football.com preseason All-Americans and begin the year as two of the top players at their respective positions in the Northwest Conference. Last season, Riga became the Bruins' first NWC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, while Dalzell recorded an NCAA Division III-best tackles-for-loss mark in a single game (7.5).

"Our defense is a very high-octane team," Casey mentioned. "They are high-spirited, competitive and fly to the ball. We will rotate a lot of guys in this season, so you never know who will be called upon."

As for the rest of the defense, Daniel Campos, Austin Taylor, Rudy Hughes, Austin Shadbolt, Caleb Harrel, Riley Lusk and Roman Kleiber will all be factors for the Bruins.

"We have an immense amount of depth this season," added Casey. "Our coaches have done a great job with recruiting classes to fill spots that are needed."

On offense, the team will rely on junior Anthony Garcia, who turned heads last year with his running ability and explosiveness. Garcia etched his name into the George Fox record book 17 times his first season as a Bruin and will look to continue to improve. To compliment Garcia, the Bruins also return Wesley Riddell, who enters the season as a two-time All-NWC selection. Damian Cook is also back as one of the final zero-year players after missing the 2017 season due to an injury.

Stephen Noonan and Nathan Corliss will be instrumental on the offensive line as the most experienced returners. Recently, Corliss became the third Bruin to be named a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) All-American.

"Everything we do on offense starts with our offensive line," Casey said. "They are the backbone of the offense. They help ensure we have great pass blocking and open up gaps for our run game."

The receiving corps will miss four-year starter Brad Lander, but return a strong group in Kenny May, James Nguyen, Evan Nelson and Bronson Ramos. The quarterback position is also up for grabs this season with the departure of four-year starter Grant Schroeder.

"We are going through some transition this year after graduating our zero-year class," Casey explained. "Anytime you graduate a class of four-year starters you'll need to rely on the next guys up. We are always expecting to improve and get better. This year isn't any different. Our job is to prepare guys on and off the field for success. We've had good competition at the QB spot. We have a bunch of guys working really hard to win that spot."

The Bruins have quite the home schedule, with four quality games slated for Stoffer Family Stadium. The Bruins welcome Howard Payne on Sept. 8, Whitworth on Oct. 6, No. 6-ranked Linfield on Oct. 20 and Puget Sound on Nov. 10. George Fox opens the season on the road with out-of-conference foe Redlands Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. Recently, the Bruins were picked to finish second in the NWC after the conference released its NWC Coaches' Poll - marking the highest selection for the Bruins since re-establishing football. 

"We always approach our schedule as one game at a time," Casey mentioned. "We prepare with what's ahead of us, and right now that's Redlands. We like the strength of our schedule at home, especially since we have such a strong home crowd to play in front of. We enjoy the presence and energy they bring on game days."

To see the Bruins full schedule, click here.