A week after its most impressive win of the season, the Georgetown football team (3-3, 1-0 Patriot League) will battle league rival Colgate (2-4, 1-0 Patriot League) at Cooper Field at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last Saturday, Georgetown routed the Lafayette Leopards (1-5, 0-2 Patriot League) 38-7. The timing of the overwhelming victory could not have been better, as it occurred on Homecoming Day, much to the home crowd’s delight.
For their efforts in the win, senior quarterback Kyle Nolan earned the distinction of Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and junior defensive lineman Phil Novacki earned a spot on the list of Patriot League Weekly Honorable Mentions.
“We talked all week about having a great week of practice. I think we did that, and that led to success,” Nolan said. “[Senior fullback] Troye [Bullock] broke us down and said it perfectly. He said if we win at practice, we will win at games, and then we will win the league.”
Novacki credited Defensive Coordinator Luke Thompson with preparing the defense to succeed against Lafayette. “Coach Thompson did a really good job of injecting confidence in us. I think the defense as a whole stepped up — we got good pressure from everyone. Defensive backs and linebackers covered well, so that really opened some things up for us to get some pressure on the quarterback,” Novacki said.
Head Coach Rob Sgarlata was also impressed with his team’s efforts.
“Like I’ve said a couple times, this is the closest team I’ve been around in a while. … It was really fun to see them come out in front of a big home crowd and put together a great football game. I’m really happy for the kids — they played extremely well and executed the game plan,” Sgarlata said.
In his Offensive Player of the Week performance, Nolan threw five touchdowns and 311 yards, completing 28 of his 36 pass attempts.
“I thought Kyle was really crisp,” Sgarlata said. “He knew where he wanted to go with the ball, even presnap. There were a lot of things that we saw during the week that he did a great job of executing on the field. He’s one of those kids that can have a performance like that every time he steps on the field. I’ve been saying to anyone willing to listen that he’s a very good player, and when he makes good decisions with the football, we have success.”
Novacki was nearly as dominant on the defensive side of the ball, racking up five tackles, 2.5 of which were for losses and 1.5 of which were sacks.
“It’s great. It’s something that validates what our program is doing in the Patriot League,” Sgarlata said of Novacki’s honor. “It’s great to see both kids get honored, and it’s good to get a convincing win in the league.”
The team will have its hands full with Colgate. Although the Raiders currently have a 2-4 overall record, they are undefeated in Patriot League play and are tied for first in the division. Junior quarterback Jake Melville has thrown for 1190 yards and six touchdowns this season, averaging just under 200 yards per game. Melville has also rushed for 336 yards and two touchdowns and has thrown only one interception in six games.
“Defensively, the big thing is going to be stopping their quarterback. He’s a great athlete with a pretty good throw. It all runs through him, so if we can get him off track, I think that will be huge for us,” Novacki said.
Melville has three main targets in the passing game: junior wide receiver John Maddaluna, sophomore wide receiver Alex Greenawalt and senior tight end John Quazza. Each has recorded at least 265 yards receiving this season. On the ground, Melville is only one component of a balanced running game, as junior running back John Wilkins, sophomore running back James Holland and senior running back Demetrius Russell have each rushed for more than 175 yards in 2015.
Despite the challenges the team may face against Colgate, Sgarlata is trying to take things in stride.
“We’re just taking it slowly, practice by practice, game by game, trying to get better at what we’re doing,” Sgarlata said. “Every game is going to be difficult and every opponent is going to play well. We’re trying to establish our footprint in the conference, and hopefully this is the first step this season, Hopefully the momentum [from the Lafayette game] will carry over into the Colgate game.”