Spartans Open 2013 Campaign Under the Lights versus Marietta on Saturday

The Spartans are 9-0 in season openers under Head Coach Greg Debeljak. (photo by Lynne Browske)
The Spartans are 9-0 in season openers under Head Coach Greg Debeljak. (photo by Lynne Browske)

Marietta Pioneers (0-0, 0-0 OAC) at
Case Western Reserve Spartans (0-0, 0-0 UAA)

Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 7:00 p.m.
Fireworks Night
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 opens the 2013 season at home under the lights versus Marietta College on Saturday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Case Field. The Spartans (6-4 in 2012) have amassed a record of 54-10 with four UAA Championships (2007-09, '11) and three NCAA Playoff berths (2007-09) during the past six years. Marietta went winless in 2012 but begins a new era under a first-year head coach. The Pioneers have also enjoyed recent success in season openers with a 4-1 record over the last five years and 10 victories in their last 12 openers overall.

The Spartans hold a 1-0 series lead with the Pioneers as the two met for the first time on the gridiron last September.

Thanks to generous donations by Bon Appétit Management Company, Courtyard Cleveland University Circle and One-to-One Fitness, the Case Western Reserve Athletic Department presents Fireworks Night following the game. Fireworks Night has been an annual event since 2005 with the exception of last season as no night football games were scheduled at Case Field. The show typically begins 5-10 minutes following the conclusion of the game.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who enters his 10th season in 2013 with a 67-27 (.713) record. Debeljak has led the Spartans to four UAA Championships in six 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 54-10, 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 six seasons (2007-10).

Andy Waddle was named the 29th head coach in Marietta football history this past winter. A 2003 graduate of Wittenberg University, Waddle spent the past eight seasons on the staff at his alma mater with seven of those seasons as defensive coordinator. During his time at Wittenberg, the Tigers won four North Coast Athletic Conference Championships and earned four trips to the NCAA Playoffs.

Then junior running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) rushed for a career-high 155 yards on just 19 carries, and Case Western Reserve erased an early 10-point deficit with 26 unanswered points en route to a 26-23 victory in the 2012 season opener at Marietta on September 1 at Don Drumm Stadium. After allowing 10 points in the first 8:41 of play, Case's defense shut the Pioneers out for nearly three quarters and totaled six sacks with an interception. For the game, the Spartans outgained the Pioneers, 219 to minus three, on the ground.

Last season, the Spartans averaged 22.7 points, 146.9 yards rushing, 189.9 yards passing and 336.8 total yards. Case opponents averaged 16.5 ppg, 78.6 yards rushing, 217.4 yards passing and 296.0 total yards per game. The Spartans had a -11 turnover ratio.

Offensively, senior quarterback Erik Olson (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) completed 137-of-243 passes (56.4%) for 1,726 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Junior signal caller Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) completed 17-of-29 passes (58.6%) for 150 yards with two TDs. Beecher also rushed for 247 yards on 52 carries (4.8 ypc). Junior running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) ran for a team-high 725 yards on 191 carries (3.8 ypc) with four touchdowns. Sicre also had 26 receptions for 325 yards and two scores. Junior RB Ricky Hanzlik (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) rushed for 262 yards on 53 carries (4.9 ypc) with one TD. Prior to injury in week two, senior RB Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton)  rushed for 209 yards on 30 carries (7.0 ypc) with a TD. Junior wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) had a team-high 40 receptions and 501 yards (12.5 ypc) with three TDs. Sophomore WR Bryan Erb (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Country Day) posted 22 receptions for 234 yards (10.6 ypc) and leads the team with four receiving scores.

Defensively, senior end Brandon Bryant (Rockville, Md./Rockville) recorded 27 tackles, including 7.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. Senior strong safety Jordan Banky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) tallied 48 tackles with an interception and four pass break-ups.

Last season, the Pioneers averaged 14.2 points, 40.1 yards rushing, 211.9  yards passing and 252.0 total yards. Marietta opponents averaged 42.1 ppg, 207.3 yards rushing, 220.6 yards passing and 427.9 total yards per game. The Pioneers had a -14 turnover ratio.

Offensively, senior QB Tom Fulton completed 151-of-325 (46.5%) for 1,850 yards with 14 TDs and 16 INTs. Senior RB Chris Sanders rushed for 55 yards on 14 carries (3.9 ypc). Senior WR Kirby Harris led the team with 47 receptions for 682 yards (14.5 ypc) and seven TDs, while senior WR Tannon Roberts hauled in 39 catches for 560 yards and two TDs.

Defensively, senior LB Jake Hammer posted a team-high 115 tackles, including 3.5 for loss, with 1.5 sacks and one INT. Senior LB Frank Holmes ranked second on the team with 52 tackles to go along with a sack, while senior DB Robert Brown totaled 38 with team highs of three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. 

Head Coach Greg Debeljak has announced team captains for the 2013 season. Senior defensive end Brandon Bryant (Rockville, Md./Rockville) and senior running back Kenny Riordan (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) were voted by their teammates to lead the squad this fall.

Case Western Reserve has won 11-consecutive season openers dating back to the 2002 season. Nine of those victories have come under Head Coach Greg Debeljak. The last CWRU loss in a season opener came on September 8, 2001 at Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) by a score of 42-14.

Case Western Reserve had won nine home openers in a row from 2002 to 2010 before dropping the first game at Case Field in each of the last two seasons (17-7 to Rochester in 2011 and 17-16 to Frostburg State in 2012). The 2012 season (2-3) was also the first since the inaugural season (2005) of Case Field where the team did not post a winning record at home.

The Spartans were just 2-4 in games decided by four points or less last season as the squad's four losses came by only 11 combined points. 

Case Western Reserve's record in its previous four games versus schools from the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Spartans defeated Otterbein University in 2003, John Carroll University in 2010 and 2011, and Marietta College last season.

The number of wins for Case Western Reserve since the beginning of the 2007 season. The Spartans are 54-10 overall and 28-2 on the road during that span.