By Alyssa Davis | Published Dec. 10, 2015
After two long seasons of consecutive 2-8 records in 2013 and 2014, Kean’s football team has finally seen it’s hard work, dedication and patience come to fruition.
In 2015 the Cougars posted an impressive 8-3 record; the best they have managed since 2011.
“I think the group of guys that have been with me now for the last two years are very resilient, but most importantly I think the fact that they still bought in and did everything they were asked of them since last December to where we are today was a big factor,” head coach Dan Garrett said about his team’s success.
After obtaining a new signal caller in transfer student Tyler Rodriguez, things looked positive. Rodriguez led his ranks to two straight season-opening wins to head into a game against William Patterson.
One play almost undid all of that. Rodriguez got hit in the hand with a helmet, which broke his third metacarpal bone – a season-ending injury requiring surgery.
Standing at 5-foot-10, small stature for collegiate football players, sophomore Charles App stepped in and was able to successfully fill Rodriguez’s shoes.
The game came down to a successful Cougar field goal attempt to give them a walk-off win, and to put them at 3-0 for the season.
From there App helped his team earn five wins and only three losses.
“When his time came he was ready,” Garrett said. “He’s very determined because I think a lot of people said he couldn’t play quarterback in college because he is undersized, but Charlie (App) has a really good football IQ and he’s a tough kid and a competitor.”
App also managed his offense to a 24-6 landslide victory in the ECAC Presidents Bowl against Worcester Polytechnic Institute. On the season, App amassed 1616 total yards and 16 touchdowns.
“It was very rewarding,” App said about the season. “Our coaches prepared us very well going into the season. Having a great offense and a defense that can really bail you out – that really put me in a comfortable situation and made my life a whole lot easier.”
Junior Robert Meade started his college tenure as a quarterback. Coming into this season Garrett moved him to defense into the linebacker position. Meade did so well that he earned himself a first team all-conference spot. He posted 102 tackles and a sack in 10 games played.
“I think it just says a lot about him and his trust in me because when you play quarterback your whole life and then your coach tells you you’re moving to linebacker, it’s an awkward conversation,” Garrett said.
Other honorable mentions on the defensive side are Dave Coleman who tallied 71 tackles and an interception, LeRon Dilliard who contributed with 60 tackles, a sack and four interceptions, Austin Davis who posted 27 tackles and nine interceptions and David Jimerson who had 52 tackles and an interception.
“All those guys are coming back,” Garrett said. “So it’s going to be fun to watch next year.”
On the offensive side, running back Damian Corredor amassed 1239 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Tight end Jonathan Schmitt contributed with a total of 591 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Quadir Johnson had 516 yards and three touchdowns.
All of this paved the way so the Cougars could walk the road to success.
“They all bought in,” Garret said. “They all were tremendous in getting this program back on the map.”