Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 Football: Mars Hill College

Game #2. The Mountain Lions of Mars Hill

A preseason preview of the Catamount's second opponent of the 2011 football season, the Lions of Mars Hill College.

The Catamount's first home opponent is a familiar one, the South Atlantic Conference's (SAC) own Mars Hill College (MHC). Head Football Coach Tim Clifton's Div. II Lions were 5-6 overall in the 2010-11 football season, and did earn a 45-39 Homecoming victory over Tusculum last season, which won in Cullowhee.  The Lions finished 5th overall in the SAC. Clifton's 87 football wins in his 18 seasons at MHC, place him third in all-time wins of all SAC head coaches.  The Lions will return 6 starters from their offense, 6 on defense, and 5 on special teams, including their third leading point scorer, place kicker Michael Pinkerton.

The Lions will be lead by Clemson transfer RS junior quarterback Jon Richt. In the 2010 season, Richt passed for 20 TD's, and completed 131 passes for 2,238 yards. Richt's favorite target was senior wide receiver P.J. Gore, who had 9 TD catches and averaged 99 yards per game. Richt is not a threat rushing, gaining only 37 yards total last season on the ground.  Richt is the son of University of Georgia Head Football Coach Mark Richt

Jonas Randolph, a 5-10, 185-pound senior running back, was the teams leading scorer last season, with 15 touchdowns, and 1367 yards rushing (avg 124 per game).  Randolph has been selected to the 2011 Lindy's Sports Magazine preseason All-American second team.   After the 2010 season, Randolph was named a D2football.com All-American; Honorable Mention All-American by Don Hansen;  named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Coaches’ All-America Team;  Daktronics All-Southeast Region and All-South Atlantic Conference first teams. Randolph led the SAC in rushing for two consecutive seasons, and through the last three seasons, has 37 touchdowns, 3,438 rushing yards and 222 points scored, all MHC career records.

Of interest is the size of  the 2011 signing class for Mars Hill.  Their 2011 signing class includes a total of 73 players, that's 73 new players, not counting returning players.  While the Catamounts will win this game, the Lions should not be taken lightly, they will come to Cullowhee remembering Tusculum. 

Game Prediction: WCU 31 -  MHC 10