St. John Fisher's football season begins September 6th with a home game against Otterbein. The Cardinals made the Elite 8 of the NCAA playoffs in 2013. They begin this season ranked ninth in D3Football.com's preseason poll.
Neither matters much to Fisher now.
The Cardinals lost four of their top five receivers and their top running back to graduation. However, quarterback Tyler Fenti should make up for whatever experience is lost. The HF-L grad is beginning his second season as the starter and his fifth in the program.
"He just progressed amazingly last year," Vosburgh said. "He's more mature. He's not an 18 year old kid anymore. He's a 22, 23 year old man. So the way he looks at things and his maturity on and off the field we hope will be a great example for our young kids."
"As quarterback, you always have to confident," Fenti said. "I have another year experience, so this year will be easier. I'm pretty prepared and excited for the opportunity."
The Cardinals aren't barren at the skill positions. Nathan Nigolian is the lone top returning receiver. He was second in catches and yards last year with 64 for 898 and tied for first with nine scores.
Fisher also will be getting help from a few transfers, including Schroeder grad Mike Collichio who left Mt. Union to join the Cardinals. Collichio only had five catches in his freshman season, but one of those was a game winning touchdown grab in the final minute of the national semifinal. In his last season in Webster, Collichio topped a thousand yards receiving had eight touchdowns.
Defensively, the conversation starts at linebacker. The Cardinals return the whole starting unit, including a preseason All-American in Preish. "You can get any sort of accolade that you want, but you still have to go out there and earn the respect of your teammates and earn the respect of everyone else in your conference. Any preseason recognition is nice, but you have to go out there and earn it," he said.
"Our defense did a great job last year and there's a lot of those kids back," Vosburgh said. "I'm very excited about what they can do."
Fisher has proven then can go deep into the playoffs. The Cardinals have made deep trips into the NCAA playoffs routinely, including a run all the way to the semis back in 2006. Vosburgh admitted bettering that-with a run to the finals- is still the goal this year.
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