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Point Football 2015 Season Preview

Contributed by admin on Aug 27, 2015 - 09:32 PM
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(WEST POINT, Ga.) There will be plenty of new faces for the Point University football team when the Skyhawks take the field at Rams Stadium Saturday to face Reinhardt University in the opening game of the 2015 season. The Skyhawks roster will feature 96 new players this season and only 53 players returning players. 

In addition to a multitude of new players, the Skyhawks have a new head coach this season as well. Mike McCarty was officially hired by the university on March 5, becoming the third head coach in Point football history. McCarty comes to Point with nearly a decade of college football coaching experience, including serving the past six seasons at the University of West Alabama.


And although Coach McCarty is aware that it takes time for a team with so many new players to completely gel together, he is excited to see what this team is capable of, citing the leadership of the 16 Skyhawk seniors as a major reason he is optimistic about the upcoming season.


"I have a soft spot for these seniors," said Coach McCarty. "From the moment I've gotten here they've bought into everything I've talked about. I feel strongly that these seniors are going to compete extremely hard and I think the rest of the team is going to follow that lead."


Starting quarterback Charles Fortis returns for his senior season for the Skyhawks. Fortis threw for 1,329 yards last season with seven touchdowns and a .517 completion rate. Senior defensive backs Jalen Outten and Kalen Newsome will anchor the Point secondary while senior linebacker Albert Trammell, who led the Skyhawks defense last season with 35 solo tackles and 56 total tackles, returns as well.


Seniors Dominique WilsonDonta Freeman and Chase Dial will be the driving force behind an offensive line that Coach McCarty believes will be one of the stronger facets of this year's team. "When I got here I knew we had a veteran offensive line and we've been saying it all along that that is a strength of our team this year," said McCarty. "Those guys have been around for a long time and are going to be really good for us this year."


Another prominent senior performer for the Skyhawks will be punter David Strickland. Last season Strickland was named to the All-Sun Conference First Team and garnered All-NCCAA First Team recognition for the third time in his career. He also became the first Point University football player ever to be selected to the AFCA NAIA Coaches' All-American team.


Other key returners include junior offensive lineman Austin Hodge, sophomore offensive lineman Lance Harrod, sophomore tight end Beau Beasley, sophomore wide receivers Brandon Robertson and Rodel Shorter, junior running back Ladarrius Mathis, junior kicker Nick Powell, junior defensive back Dwayne Fields, sophomore defensive linemen Dikembe Billingslea, and A.J. Houston, and sophomore linebackers Luke Lynch and Isaiah Ross.


Coach McCarty also expects to receive quality production this season from many of the Skyhawks crop of 96 new athletes. Christian Williams, a junior running back who transferred from Coahoma Community College, will figure prominently in the Skyhawks offense. Wide receiver Charles Duckworth, a junior transfer from from Pearl River Community College, will also contribute offensively right away. Other transfers include junior defensive back Lemonta Truitt, who came to Point from Garden City Community College after attending Troup County High School, and junior quarterback Anthony Mitchell. Mitchell transferred from Coahoma Community College and will back up Charles Fortis at the quarterback position.


Freshman Isiah Long, a running back from Dothan High School, figures to be a solid player offensively for the Skyhawks this season. Defensive linemenRobert Wilcox (Irwin County High School), Omar Lopez (Central Gwinnett High School), linebackers Al Cooper (Sandy Creek High School) and D'Angelo Housey(Statesboro High School), defensive backs Cory Pierce (Chalmette High School) and Ryan Peterson (Irwin County High School), wide receiver Jarquez Alexander(Lowndes High School) and quarterback Rashad Louie (Shades Valley High School) will all be important contributors as freshman.


The Point football program is entering just its fourth year of its existence. And while the Skyhawks have yet to win more than three games in a single season, that hasn't stopped Coach McCarty from having high hopes for this season.


"My expectations are always high," said McCarty. "I'm not saying we're going to win every game, but from a competitive standpoint, I think we're going to be much more competitive than Point has ever been. And that's what's exciting. You know, we may not win every game but we're going to play extremely hard. I've been around these guys long enough now to know that they are going to get after it and they are not going to give up no matter what happens."

The Skyhawks' 11 game schedule this season will feature six homes games - five at Rams Stadium in Valley and one in West Point at River Bowl Stadium.


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