COLUMBUS, Ohio — With a slew of returners on both sides of the football, a talented recruiting class and a year of experience of play in the GLIAC and at the Division II level, Ohio Dominican’s football team looks forward to enjoying a successful second year in the conference.
The Panthers will kick off the 2011 season with a non-league game against Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) College at noon Saturday at Panther Field.
Forty-nine letterwinners and 18 starters return from 2010, with depth and experience across the board. All 11 starters are back on offense, including seniors in quarterback Jeremy Fudge (522 yards rushing) and running back Mike Noffsinger (school-record 794 yards rushing). Noffsinger is just 96 yards away from the career rushing record, and he has plenty of experience up front for him as all five offensive linemen, including All-GLIAC honoree Andrew Carpenter, return. Also back are senior wideouts Brandon Robinson and Tyler Purcell, who combined for 68 receptions in 2010. Robinson earned All-GLIAC distinctions in 2010.
Defensively, seven starters return, including linemen Vince German, Joe Richter and Eli Kovach (16.0 combined tackles for loss), linebackers Kevin Guthrie (28 tackles) and Mark Markakis (65 tackles), corner Eisen Hardy (67 tackles) and safety Jeff White (65 tackles). White has four career interceptions and six forced fumbles.
On special teams, Chris Vortkamp – the school record-holder for most career field goals (18), is back to handle both the placekicking and punting duties. He hit 11-of-16 field goals in 2010 and placed 11 of his 14 punts inside the opponent’s 20.
Ohio Dominican leads the all-time series 1-0. The teams matched up at Panther Field on Oct. 10, 2009, and the Panthers overcame a 7-3 deficit in the second quarter to come away with a 45-14 win. ODU racked up 601 yards of offense, as Billy Griffin threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns, Austin Wallace ran for 81 yards and a touchdown, and Jeff White had six tackles and an interception.
Seniors Jeremy Fudge and Brandon Robinson and junior Eli Kovach were selected this week as the team captains for the 2011 season. A fourth gameday captain will be selected based on work ethic during the week leading up to the game.