Posted: Sep 04, 2019
ADRIAN, Mich. -- The (RV) Siena Heights football team hosts Olivet Nazarene University in the team's 2019 season opener in a Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) crossover game.
This will be the eighth meeting between the Saints and Tigers in football. Siena Heights is 5-2 in the series including a 16-7 win last season on the road. ONU won 20-11 in 2017 and 20-14 in 2012. This will be the fifth meeting at O'Laughlin Stadium. The first meeting took place on October 6, 2012, where the Tigers won 20-14. It was also the first meeting between the two teams. Siena is 2-2 at home against Olivet Nazarene.
The Saints return third-year sophomore quarterback Tyler Knecht after a 2018 campaign in which he was 132-221 in the air for 1637 passing yards and 10 TDs. Jared Jordan also returns in the backfield for SHU after rushing for 560 yards and led the team with 12 touchdowns. Fellow running back Kaleb Jefferson rushed nine times for 84 yards, an average of 12 yards per carry, should also get some carries for the Saints. The receiving corp. of Siena Heights is led by seniors Jalen Young and Austin Krider (4 rec, 27 yds.) along with juniors Tim Brown (6 rec, 55 yds.), Jerrold King (3 rec, 20 yds.), and Ryan Brennan. Fourth-year junior DaWan Smith II returns in the H-Back position. He caught 15 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown last year. Sophomore Pianki Abdul-Hakiym tallied two receptions last year in the H-Back spot.
On the defensive side of the football, SHU returns four of it's five leading tacklers. Junior Nick Stalworth, 2018 leading tackler, tallied 71 total tackles, 4.5 TFL, an interception, and three pass breakups in 2018. Senior Griffin Sobol joins Stalworth in the linebacker unit. Sobol had the second-most tackles on the team with 66. He also had 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, and three INTs. Senior Logan Smith (51 TKL, 4 BRUP) and junior Trenton Morrow (43 TKL, 1 FR, 2 INT, 5 BRUP) also return on defense. 2018 NAIA All-America Honorable Mention Trevon Claybourne returns to lead the Saint secondary. Claybourn led the team with four interceptions while recording 32 tackles, 2.5 TFL, and one forced fumble.
On special teams, Sophomore Caleb Meister will punt for SHU. He punted 42 times last season for 1538 yards with a long of 51. Meister pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 10 times. Fourth-year junior Justin Carrabino is the leading kick returner coming back for the 2019 season. He finished with eight kick returns for 84 yards and a long of 25. Kaleb Jefferson also returned three kicks for 38 yards in 2018.
Olivet Nazarene returns starting quarterback Jordan Lawton from last year's squad. Lawton threw for 1750 yards and 16 touchdowns on 131-228 passing. Starting running back Jayvion Daniels also returns on offense. He rushed for 1408 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago.
Leading tackler, Jalon Simpson returns in the linebacker position. He completed the season with 123 tackles, 5.5 for loss, one sack, and two interceptions. Brody Crossin also returns from a year in which he made 66 tackles (third-most on team), 7.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, and four interceptions.
Josh Anderson returns as the team's punter this season. He booted the ball 41 times for 1612 yards with a long of 64. Jalen Dunnigan (38 yds. KOR) and Jayvion Daniels (212 yds. KOR) are the only two returners in the kick-off receiving category.
The game is scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m., EDT. Fans that are unable to make the game can watch the video stream, follow the live stats, or listen to the WLEN broadcast via online or by tuning into 103.9 FM on Saturday afternoon. Fans can also watch the preseason interview conducted at Fricker's with head coach Matt Kohn last month here.