The most important information within the DMV was the sale of the Washington Commanders changing into official. It set the tone for the upcoming soccer season as locals Bowie State College and Howard College kicked off their respective annual pre-season roundups this week.
Bowie State was picked second total and first within the Northern Division of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Affiliation (CIAA) by the coaches and media whereas Howard was picked to complete second within the Mid-Japanese Athletic Convention (MEAC) behind the reigning Black Nationwide Champion, North Carolina Central.
Bowie Bulldogs Gear Up for New Season
The Bulldogs, who received the CIAA Title and superior to the NCAA Division II playoffs the earlier two seasons earlier than this yr, took a little bit of a “slide” final season, ending 6-4 total and 5-3 in convention play.
Bowie State returns 18 starters from final yr’s squad.
“It was definitely a yr of transition for us,” admitted Kyle Jackson, following his first yr after succeeding former head coach Damien Wilson, who took over the reins at Morgan State College. “There have been some areas that we have to get again to the custom that we have now maintained right here at Bowie State.”
Bowie State was a juggernaut on the offensive facet of the ball the place it averaged over 456 yards and 29 factors per sport. It was a defensive facet of the ball the place the Bulldogs weren’t as efficient and allowed virtually 300 yards of offense per sport.
“We acknowledge that’s an space the place we have now to enhance,” stated red-shirt sophomore cornerback Jadon Carter (Lackey HS), an all-CIAA decide who recorded 31 tackles and a team-high three interceptions. “We had a great low season and you will note an enchancment in that space. We’re all working arduous to get again to the place we had been on that facet of the ball.”
An all-conference decide, red-shirt junior huge receiver Keshane Hinckley (Laurel, Maryland) was one of the crucial harmful receivers within the league with 56 catches for 686 yards and 5 TDs.
“I like the best way we function on offense,” famous Hinckley. “Now we have some weapons and that permits me to be more practical.”
The Bulldogs shall be seeking to regain the CIAA title and make one other look within the NCAA playoffs.
Bowie State opens the season towards HBCU and MEAC opponent Delaware State in Dover, Delaware on Sept. 2.
Howard Bison Work to Maintain Up Momentum from Historic Final Season
After a 1-5 begin, the Bison turned issues round, profitable 4 of their final 5 video games to complete 5-6 and 4-1 within the MEAC. They had been topped co-champions, the primary time that they’ve had a share of the crown since 1993.
Their hopes are additional buoyed by the return of plenty of key starters, together with leaders Kenny Gallop, Jr. and Jarett Hunter.
A 6-1, 214-pound senior from Portsmouth, Virginia , Gallop is thought to be one of many prime safeties within the Soccer Champion Subdivision (FCS). He’s a primary crew All-MEAC choice in 2022 and has been named to a number of pre-season honors, together with the convention crew. He led the crew in tackles for the second straight yr with 93.
“We confronted quite a lot of adversity early within the season,” famous Gallop, a professional prospect, who majors in kinesiology. “However because the season progressed down the stretch, we had been in a position to come collectively. One of many keys for us going into the season is to concentrate on the little issues that will go unnoticed however typically determines wins and losses.”
A 5-10, 205-pound senior working again from Mineral, Virginia, Hunter is without doubt one of the prime all-around backs within the MEAC. He led the crew with 627 yards dashing and 5 TDs whereas additionally catching 24 passes for 240 yards and two TDs out of the backfield.
“This has been a gradual course of over the previous three years that I’ve been right here,” stated Hunter. “Every year, beneath Coach Scott, we have now improved and gotten higher. You would see final yr once we reduce down on errors and executed the sport plan. It gave us an opportunity to win. Coming that shut, we realized that it’s the little issues that the coaches have been preaching that make a distinction. That’s what we’re wanting ahead to. It’s like Kenny stated, ‘we have now to chop out the little issues like leaping offsides or lacking an vital project.’”
When Larry Scott took over as head coach of the Bison in 2019, there have been plenty of challenges, together with a COVID-19-shortened season and bringing in the kind of gamers that match his type and imaginative and prescient.
“We aren’t only a soccer crew right here at Howard; we have now a soccer program. We’re doing it the correct approach in order that we are able to maintain what we’re constructing,” stated Scott. “Right here at Howard, we wish to make it a great expertise right here in soccer, within the classroom and of their profession pursuits.”
He continued, “After final yr, we try to raise this system. Now we have gotten larger, stronger and extra skilled.”
The Howard soccer crew has reworked from one which was typically manhandled on either side of the ball as a consequence of being vastly undersized. There was appreciable dimension distinction as a consequence of recruitment and an emphasis on weight and energy conditioning.
The offensive line is now significantly higher with the return of the likes of graduate offensive deal with Anim Dankwah and junior guard Darius Fox (DeMatha), each all-conference picks. Dankwah is a professional prospect and a variety to the East-West sport.
On the talent facet, Howard has stability, each working and passing the ball. They’ve the benefit of graduate quarterback Quinton Williams (Higher Marlboro, Maryland), in his fourth yr as starter.
Defensively, there was important enchancment with the likes of graduate defensive linemen Darrian Brokenburr (Manassas, Virginia) and Jevin Jackson, junior linebacker Terrence Hollon and a gifted and deep secondary, led by Gallop.
“The final two years, we have now been rising as a program,” added Gallop. “We had been one of many youngest groups within the FCS. Now we have now matured and able to take the subsequent step.”
The following step for the Bison is to win the MEAC outright and advance to the Celebration Bowl, performed in December in Atlanta, Georgia towards the Southwestern Atlantic Convention (SWAC) champion for the Black Nationwide Championship.
Howard opens the season at Japanese Michigan on Sept. 1.