The 2016 football season for the Rowan Prof’s was an up and down season. Before the season started the Prof’s hoped to make it back to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament as they last did in the 2014 season. This season was the 15th year Coach Jay Accorsi coached the Rowan football team. Before coming into this season the Prof’s were without two very talented offensive graduated seniors, running back Withler Marcelin, and Russ Forchion.
The big question coming into this season was whether or not the team could thrive without them. It was also the second season Dante Pinckney was named starter quarterback. The previous year Dante went 6-4 as quarterback throwing for 1,127 yards, and six touchdowns.
For the second year in a row, Rowan started the season off against Widener University. The Prof’s won the game 19-14; the key factor for this game was defense quarterback Alex Krivda of Widener who threw a total of five interceptions helping Rowan get the win.
On the flip side Quarterback Dante Pinckney went 17 out of 29, throwing for 265 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.
In the next three games Rowan went 2-1 overall. In their second game Rowan blew out William Patterson University 31-0. A game where the Rowan offense exploded, quarterback Dante Pinckney went 17 out of 27, throwing for 258 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Running back Gawain Bragg rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown. Dashawn Waller who was the leading receiver caught five passes for 91 yards, and a touchdown.
Their next game was against Montclair State, a game many people look back now wishing Rowan had won. Rowan fell to Mont Clair 14-21, a game that wasn’t decided until the very last minute of the game.
The following game against Christopher Newport University was a pivotal game which allowed them to keep their place in the standings. Rowan’s defense helped facilitate the 10-7 victory with a key interception late in the game.
In Rowan’s next three games again went 2-1 overall. After the win against Christopher Newport, Rowan won again against Salisbury University with a score of 34-30. This game was played during Rowans homecoming weekend. The defense played a big part in ensuring the victory.
It was Rowan’s second win in a row against top ranked opponents: Rowan was launched into first place in the standings.
“I would have to say how close a group they were and how they worked together. They really fought through adversity in the beginning of the year, and played some nationally rank teams, only to knock them off at home. I thought obviously we started off the season really well, their greatest strength earlier in the season was overcoming a lot of challenges”, said Coach Accorsi.
After defeating Southern Virginia University 17-7, the season took a drastic turn for the worse. In their next three games Rowan went 0-3 overall, and suffered their first loss at home.
“At the end of the season we dealt with a lot of injuries and played a lot of tough defenses that had a good grasp of what we liked to do”, said Dante.
When it came to the last game of the season against the College of New Jersey, Rowan was already out of playoff contention. Looking back at the season the team finished with a 6-4 record. Dante Pinckney threw for 1,928 yards, throwing for 11 touchdowns, and had 11 interceptions.
Looking forward to next season the Prof’s will be without veteran starting quarterback Dante Pinckney, he will not be playing his senior year, he decided that he needs to focus more of his time on his studies.
“I think I would have to say the last game of the year at the College of New Jersey. Cause obviously we were on a little bit of a losing streak. Obviously things didn’t turn out kind of how all we wanted them to, I know at the end of the year it was really, really stressful, and difficult, and hard to take those loses.
I think unlike the previous year when we lost against TCNJ at the end of the year I thought this group really made a conscious effort to really end the season on a high note and gone winners. I thought they did that; I think even though an insignificant game like the College of New Jersey as it may seem. I thought it was my greatest memory, and their greatest win of the season”, said Coach Accorsi.
I had the opportunity to interview the Color Commentator of the football broadcasts for the Rowan Television Network, Steve Mancini. In the audio interview Steve discusses the 2016 season over all and what the Prof’s have in store for the future.