Spartans Continue Quest for UAA Championship versus Washington-St. Louis on Seniors' Day

2012 Spartan seniors (photo by Tony Morrison)
2012 Spartan seniors (photo by Tony Morrison)

Washington-St. Louis Bears (3-5, 1-0 UAA) at
Case Western Reserve Spartans (5-3, 1-0 UAA)

Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 12:00 p.m.
Seniors' Day - Case Field - Cleveland

(Dave Wilson, play-by-play; Ed Daugherty, color)


Download the complete Spartan Games Notes in .pdf format by clicking HERE.

The Case Western Reserve University football team continues defense of its University Athletic Association Championship and plays at home for the first time in nearly a month when it hosts rival Washington University in St. Louis for Seniors' Day on Saturday, November 3 at 12:00 p.m. at Case Field. Winners of four of the past five league titles, the Spartans opened conference play last Saturday, October 27 with a 28-15 victory at the University of Chicago. Washington-St. Louis also started league action with a 15-3 win at Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.). The winner of the Case Western Reserve versus Washington (Mo.) game is guaranteed at least a share of the 2012 UAA Championship. 

Originally scheduled for the season finale on November 10, Seniors' Day has been moved to this Saturday's game versus Washington-St. Louis. CWRU has also designated the Nov. 10 game versus Carnegie Mellon as the Billy Deitmen Memorial Game with all proceeds going to benefit an endowment in celebration of former Spartan captain Billy Deitmen '11, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 23 on October 18. 

The young gridiron history between the Spartans and Bears dates back only to 1985. Washington holds a 17-9 lead in the all-time series, but the Spartans have won four of the last five meetings including a 16-6 triumph in St. Louis last season. Prior to Case Western Reserve winning four-of-five, the Bears captured the previous 15 meetings from 1992-2006. The Spartans won the first three matchups from 1985-88, including a 17-10 win at home in the inaugural game of the series.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who is in his ninth season in 2012 with a 66-26 (.717) record. Debeljak has led the Spartans to four UAA Championships in five years, including three-consecutive undefeated (10-0) regular seasons from 2007-09 with back-to-back-to-back NCAA Playoff berths. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Case Western Reserve has posted an outstanding overall record of 53-9, earning Debeljak and his staff the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award four times (2007-09, '11). In addition, Case has been ranked in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 in four of the past five seasons (2007-10).

Washington is coached by Larry Kindbom, who is in his 24th season with the Bears in 2012 with an overall record of 146-92 (.640). Under Kindbom's leadership, the Bears have captured eight UAA Championships and appeared in the NCAA Division III playoffs in 1999. Entering the season, Kindbom was ranked 25th in Division III for career coaching victories.

The Spartans improved to 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the UAA with a 16-6 victory on November 5, 2011 in St. Louis. Current sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Preparatory) rushed for a team-high 92 yards on 19 carries, while then senior kicker Daniel Vasil hit a career-high three field goals, including a career-best 43-yarder. Current Washington senior quarterback Dan Burkett threw for 191 yards, 105 of which went to then senior wide out Easton Knott.

Through eight games, the Spartans average 23.0 points, 142.6 yards rushing, 194.9 yards passing and 337.5 total yards. Case opponents average 16.4 ppg, 83.1 yards rushing, 225.6 yards passing and 308.7 total yards per game. The Spartans have a -9 turnover ratio after leading the UAA at +12 last season.

The Spartans scored 21 unanswered points during a four-minute stretch of the second quarter en route to a 28-15 win at rival Chicago on Saturday, October 27 at Stagg Field. Offensively, sophomore quarterback Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) completed 5-of-6 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown, and he rushed for 39 yards and a score. Defensively, senior end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) totaled seven tackles, including a career-high 4.5 for loss, with two sacks and a blocked extra point on his way to earning UAA Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Offensively, senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) has completed 113-of-194 passes (58.2%) for 1,429 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Sophomore signal caller Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) has completed 13-of-23 passes for 107 yards with two TDs. Beecher has also rushed for 171 yards on 38 carries (4.5 ypc). Sophomore running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) has a team-high 550 yards rushing on 142 carries (3.9 ypc) with four touchdowns. Sicre also has 21 receptions for 275 yards and two scores. Sophomore RB Ricky Hanzlik (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) has rushed for 189 yards on 41 carries (4.6 ypc) with one TD. Sophomore wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) is tied for the UAA lead with 33 receptions and has 445 yards (13.5 ypc) and three TDs. Senior wide receiver Brian Rice (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) has 25 catches for 356 yards (14.2 ypc) with one TD.  Freshman WR Bryan Erb (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Country Day) has 20 receptions for 215 yards (10.8 ypc) and leads the team with four receiving scores.

Defensively, senior outside linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis) has recorded a UAA-high 88 tackles with a forced fumble, an interception and five pass break-ups. Senior linebacker Kevin Nossem (Munster, Ind./Munster) has 73 tackles, a team-high two forced fumbles and one pass break-up. Senior linebacker Wade Self (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Lake Zurich) has 67 stops with a pass break-up and a blocked punt. Senior end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) has 49 tackles, including a team-high nine TFL, with team-bests of 5.5 sacks and three blocked kicks. Senior nose guard Michael Harris (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) has 44 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Senior tackle Collin Desens (Hopewell Junction, N.Y./Arlington) has 42 tackles with seven TFL and four sacks. Senior cornerback Cary Dieter (McKees Rocks, Pa./Montour) has an interception and is tied with senior safety Dan Calabrese (Concord, Ohio/Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin) with seven break-ups.

Through eight games, the Bears average 18.0 points, 95.0 yards rushing, 168.1  yards passing and 263.1 total yards. Washington opponents average 20.5 ppg, 173.0 yards rushing, 166.2 yards passing and 339.2 total yards per game. The Bears have a -1 turnover ratio.

Junior QB Eric Daginella has completed 54-of-106 (50.9%) for 684 yards with five TDs and three INTs. Senior RB Chris Castelluccio has a team-high 501 yards on 152 (3.3 ypc) with three TDs. Senior WR Drew Sexton has team highs of 31 receptions and 417 yards (13.5 ypc) with two TDs. Sophomore WR Ryan Lubatkin has 14 catches for 164 yards (11.7 ypc) with a team-high three TDs. Sophomore WR Tim Bartholomew has eight receptions for 160 yards (20 ypc) with a pair of scores.

Defensively, sophomore LB Fade Oluokun has a team-high 54 tackles with four break-ups. Senior DT William Small has 40 stops with a team-high 6.5 for loss and three sacks. Junior end Seth Wight has 24 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, with a team-best 3.5 sacks. Junior DB Andrew Skalman leads the team with four INTs.

The Spartans picked up a pair of blocked extra point attempts at Chicago with one each from junior safety Jacob LaFleur (Hilliard, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory) and senior defensive end Adam Watson (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor). The team has a combined six blocks this season (2 field goals/2 punts/2 extra points), while Watson leads the team with a combined three (1 field goal/1 punt/1 extra point).

Senior wide receiver Vinny Bell (Parma Heights, Ohio/Valley Forge), who was a two-time All-American forward for the Spartan soccer team in 2010 and 2011, recorded a career-high four receptions for 63 yards at Chicago with a key 35-yard reception on a 2nd-and-23 play.

The Spartans maintained a turnover ratio of -10 through the first five games of the season. Since then, the Spartans are +1 over the last three games.

The Spartans rank 13th in Division III in rush defense, allowing just 83 yards per game. The team finished last season with the nation's seventh-best rush defense (75.7 ypg) and has only allowed one 100-yard rusher in the last 19 games. 

The number of wins for Case Western Reserve since the beginning of the 2007 season. The Spartans are 53-9 overall and 28-2 on the road during that span.