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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Friday, May 6, 2011

SCSU Spring game Saturday at 10:30 a.m.


Kevin Lynch didn’t want to assign a number to his goals this year. Suffice it to say that if he did they’d have been in the stratosphere.

Lynch, the Owls’ junior quarterback, hopes to lead the Southern Connecticut State football team back into the NCAA Division II playoffs after a two-year hiatus. The Owls were 6-4 last year, good enough to share the Northeast-10 title but not enough to earn a postseason berth.

“Our goal every year is to win the conference and make a run in the playoffs,” Lynch said. “We really didn’t do either of those. We lost a couple of tough games and that obviously made big difference in our season. If we can avoid those next year we should be better off.”
Lynch and the Owls unveil their potent offense today at Jess Dow Stadium in the annual Spring Football game. The game is dedicated to the memory of former SCSU staffer William “Sully” Sullivan.
Perhaps getting to know his young receiver corps Lynch and the Owls prodigious offense started slowly last year. SCSU got off to an 0-2 start and scored just six points in its season opener.
At the finish line it was business as usual for the Owls as SCSU won its last three games and scored 146 points in the process. Along the way Lynch made an assault on the school’s passing marks. He set an SCSU with 443 passing yards and matched the mark with six touchdown passes in a 49-32 win over Merrimack. Earlier in the year he broke SCSU’s marks for completions (30) and attempts (46) in a 49-35 loss to West Liberty State.
Lynch gives the credit to arsenal of skill players.
“I’m fortunate to have (receivers) Andre Privott, Willie Epps, great tight ends and Rashaad Slowley at running back,” Lynch said. “My offensive line is great. They’re all great play-makers and maybe last year it took a little longer than I would have liked to get going but I think with a year under our belts we can avoid that this year.
“We can just take what we learned from last year and be better off for it. It’s not that we didn’t work hard last year but we’re focused every day this year. The competition level (amongst the team) is very high. We’re using each other to get after it.”
Southern opens the season on Sept. 3 at FCS member Central Connecticut State.
“That’s pretty good team and it really doesn’t even help us (playoff) point-wise,” SCSU coach Rich Cavanaugh said. “It’s a difficult schedule and we only have four home games.”
After the game against Central, SCSU travels to West Liberty State for a crucial out-of-conference Division II game.
“It’s important,” Lynch said. “You don’t want to dig yourself a hole. We’ve done that the past couple of years. We’re playing tough games early. You know Central’s good and West Liberty lost some players but they’re the type of team that reloads. They’ll be good but we can be better off than we were last year. We feel we’re very talented.”
Southern, American International, Bentley and rival New Haven all finished 6-2 in the NE-10 last year. While the Owls have been perennial conference preseason favorites over the past several years, the Chargers have 21 starters returning and could get the nod this year.
“I think that we should be the preseason favorite again,” said Slowley, who is hampered by a turf toe injury and his status for today’s game is incertain. “We’re more consistent but regardless of whether we’re the favorite or not we have to get ready for every game and we have to finish them.”
But Lynch said that Southern has something to prove this year. The Owls have finished above .500 for the past 10 years with an overall record of 75-33.
“History can only take you so far,” Lynch said. “You’re only as good as your last year and New Haven beat us last year. I’m sure they’re going to be very good next year but we’re looking forward to every game.”
Lynch completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,468 yards last season. The 6-3, 215-pounder from Medfield, Mass., also threw for 24 touchdowns. While 3,000 yards is within his reach he doesn’t care about that number.
“I’m sure every team says they want to be competitive and win every game,” he said. “No one says they’re goal is to go 4-6. Our expectations within ourselves are very high It’s not about my numbers and if we play the way we can our goals will fall in line.”
Lynch will be backed up by sophomore Jake Jablonski another in a long line of promising signal-callers at the school. Jablonski threw just two passes last year but has shown promise in practice.
“He’s a good player,” Lynch said. “He’s learning the offense and I’m trying to teach him everything I can like Steve (Armstrong) and Chris (Roberts) did with me. Down the road he’s going to be very good and any way I can help him I will.”

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