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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

July 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Sports

Zeroing In: Previewing Bombers football at St. John Fisher

The football team (4–2 overall, 2–2 Empire 8) travels Saturday to Rochester, N.Y., to take on 24th-ranked St. John Fisher College (4–2 overall, 1–2 Empire 8)

Welch update

Bombers Head Coach Mike Welch successfully underwent double bypass surgery Tuesday at Rochester General Hospital. Welch is out of the Intensive Care Unit and is recuperating in his own hospital room. Defensive Coordinator Mark McDonough is handling the head coaching duties during the interim. McDonough said he is relishing the opportunity but wishes it had come under better circumstances.

“It’s a dream of mine to be a head coach and more specifically to be a head coach here,” McDonough said. “So it’s been wonderful from that regard but certainly not the way you want it to happen. It’s been tough, and it’s been good at the same time.”

Saving the season

With the Bombers and Cardinals both losing two conference games in a row, the loser of this game is virtually eliminated from any potential postseason consideration. Winning the Empire 8 Conference is going to be a tough task for either team, but the prospect of a berth in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships is still possible for both. It would realistically require both teams to run the table and win their last four games, but it’s not impossible, especially for Fisher.

Stopping the option

Fisher’s offense is primarily a spread option led by senior quarterback Ryan Kramer and junior running back Cody Miller. Kramer, a former wide receiver, has not rushed the ball as much as he did in the first three weeks of the season, only attempting 10 carries in the last three games. Kramer threw three interceptions against Alfred University,  so the Bombers will force him to use his arm instead of his feet. The Bombers have had trouble stopping the run, as they have given up more than 150 yards rushing in the past two weeks.

Conference decider

Alfred (4–1–0 overall, 3–0 Empire 8), a squad that is ranked 21st in Division III, travels to 7th-ranked Salisbury University (5–1 overall, 3–0 Empire 8) with an opportunity to take the driver’s seat in the battle for the Empire 8. The Saxons have the 12th-best run defense in Division III, and it will be tested by the Sea Gulls’ 11th-best rushing offense. If senior nose tackle Mike Raplee can disrupt the Sea Gulls’ option attack, then the Saxons may be able to give Salisbury its first Empire 8 loss in 11 games.