2012 Football Season Preview
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Posted by: Sports Information
Rockford, Ill. – The Rockford College football team heads into the 2012 season looking to turn the corner and find itself back on the winning sideline. The Regents have struggled over the past few seasons to find consistent production on both sides of the ball. Rockford ended its 2011 season with back-to-back losses where the Regents had a chance to win the game on its final possession. The 2012 season appears to have a brighter outlook than previous ones as the team now boasts a much larger roster including some key returners and new players looking to make an immediate impact.
On the offensive side of the ball everything starts with sophomore quarterback Jacob Gorsuch (Cherry Valley, Ill./Jefferson). Gorsuch showed flashes of brilliance at times during his eight starts as a freshman. The sophomore threw for 1,119 yards and 6 touchdowns while rushing for 3 more in his first season of college football. He will be joined by a group of familiar faces in the backfield and brand new core of wide receivers. Senior running back Isaiah Whack (Deltona, Fla./Deltona) will get the bulk of the carries for the Rockford offense this season. Whack was the team’s leading rusher last season and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. In his junior season, the Florida native scored the only three touchdowns of his collegiate career and will look to add to that total this year. Sophomore fullbacks Nick Nowdomski (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) and Milton Philips (Rockford, Ill./Guilford) round out the Regent backfield. Nowdomski returns to the lineup after missing the second half of the season last year due to an injury. Philips filled in admirably in Nowdomski’s absence, and had a career day against Benedictine, the 2012 NAC Champions, scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown. A pair of transfers leads a brand new group of receivers this year. Jared Baldonado (Phoenix, Ariz./Copper Canyon) and Mike Balque (Long Beach California/Lakewood) will try to replace the loss of 1st Team All-NAC receiver Anastacio Zamba.
Defensively the Regents will be a lot more experienced this season. NAC Co-Freshman of the Year Seth Swinehart (Rockford, Ill./East) returns and will anchor the defense from the linebacker position. Swinehart was all over the field last season leading the Regents with 91 tackles. He was tied for second on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss, recorded 1 sack, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Rockford returns two seniors to its defensive backfield in Jeremiah Montgomery (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) and Andrew Hildebrand (Belvidere, Ill./North). Montgomery earned 2nd Team All-NAC honors last season for his stellar play at cornerback. The Chicago native proved to be a shutdown corner for the Regents last season. He intercepted 4 passes returning 2 of them for touchdowns including one for 90 yards to break the school record. Montgomery also forced two fumbles and picked one of them up to run it in for a score as well. Hildebrand will again play the roll of a hard hitting ball hawking safety for the Regents. Last season the Belvidere native was second on the team with 69 tackles including a team-high 39 unassisted tackles. He also intercepted 2 passes and broke up another one. Up front, the Regents will try to find a combination of familiar faces and new additions to stuff the opposing run game and pressure the quarterback. Manuel Macias (Marengo, Ill./Marengo Community) returns for his sophomore season after a playing in eight games as a freshman. Macias recorded 20 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss. The Regents defense is looking to improve on the amount of yardage it surrenders this season while continuing to generate turnovers. Rockford’s defense forced an impressive 24 turnovers last season tying them for third in the Northern Athletics Conference.
The Regents will open up their 2012 campaign on September 1st at home against Westminster College. The Regents are 2-5 against the Blue Jays since Rockford started its football program in 2000. Last season Westminster defeated Rockford 51-24 to end the Regents two game winning streak in the series. Rockford fell behind early last season trailing 39-10 at the half. The Regents will have to do a better job of securing the football this time as they threw 4 interceptions, lost a fumble and turned the ball over on downs once leading to three Westminster touchdowns. Offensively the Regents did do a good job capitalizing off of Blue Jay miscues scoring three touchdowns of their own. Whack was the Regents leading rusher in the game gaining 58 yards on 11 carries and punching the ball into the end zone for a score. Defensively it was Swinehart and Hildebrand who led the way with 9 and 6 tackles respectively. Kickoff for the 2012 season opener will be at 1:00 p.m. at Sam Greeley Field in Rockford, Ill.