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Worcester State Football Excited About Young Talent

Friday, August 17, 2012

 

Worcester State enjoyed a turnaround season in 2011, going 8-3 and achieving its first winning season since 2004.

The Lancers were a veteran group last year, led offensively by senior quarterback Tony Tokarz and senior running back Marcus Price. On the defensive side of the ball, senior defensive end Ray St. Laurent led the New England Football Conference with 10.5 sacks.

Still, longtime coach Brien Cullen feels good about his younger players that have been waiting for their chance.

"We lose a lot of experience but, on the offensive side of the ball, we have guys like (senior quarterback) Corey Spencer and (sophomore running back) Kemani Jones who played a bunch last year when the starters were injured," Cullen said. "We have great confidence in them, and we have a lot of confidence in the guys behind them."

Spencer seems prepared to step in at quarterback after appearing in five games last season, throwing for 175 yards and a touchdown. Cullen also likes what he's seen from junior Kyle Moon and recent Assumption transfer sophomore Kevin Bumpus, who started for the Greyhounds last year. Whichever quarterback earns the job will get the chance to throw to an experienced receiving corps, led by last year's receptions leader junior A.J. Scerra.

Defensively, St. Laurent leaves a huge void in the pass rushing department, but sophomore Tyler Asam may be able to fill his shoes. The Milford native earned NEFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last season after recording 12 tackles for a loss and three sacks.

"He's a guy with a great motor, he just never stops," Cullen said. "We're hoping he can keep improving, and we could see him grabbing some regional awards this year. By the time he's a junior or senior, he's a guy I could see being up for some national recognition."

Cullen is also high on sophomore defensive end Zack Skerry, who played with Asam at Milford High. The coach believes the two will be solid on the edge, while junior Bryan Narcisse returns as one of the conference's better interior linemen.

At linebacker, look for junior Matt Begley to fill in on the inside after a solid spring and his classmate Chris Hanson to return to his starting spot on the outside. One huge question mark for the Lancers, though, will be in the defensive backfield.

Now graduated is All American cornerback Cliff Oratokhai, and Cullen says finding the former South High star's successor is still a work in progress.

"We're still looking," Cullen said. "We have an athletic freshman, Y-Kim Sheppard, that has looked really good. He's young, but that seems to be the way we're going."

The Lancers open their season at home Friday August 31st against crosstown rival Anna Maria. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm. 

 

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