The Georgetown football team will begin their 2019 campaign on the road Saturday as it takes on Davidson College. Facing off against a quality non-conference opponent, the team will look to secure a season-opening win for the second consecutive year.

Despite a 5-6 finish, the Hoyas ended last season on an upward trajectory, winning four of the last six and finishing second in the Patriot League. The team’s final record was a marked improvement upon its 1-10 record from 2017, and the Hoyas will look to maintain this momentum entering the 2019 season.

GUHOYAS | Junior Owen Kessler is a member of the Georgetown football team’s second line of defense this upcoming season. 

The early part of the season is certainly of utmost importance to this year’s group, as last year’s team dropped four straight games in September after an opening victory at Marist. Fortunately, the Hoyas return a number of key contributors from last year’s team, including senior quarterback Gunther Johnson. Johnson tallied a total of 13 touchdowns last year, four of which came in the 39-14 season-opening win. 

“Gunther has been excellent this camp and has become a gritty, tough leader. He has really taken control of the offense and has done a really good job. He has improved his mechanics and his arm strength and accuracy is much better.”

Johnson will be protected up front by a group of linemen that consists of four returning starters, including seniors Ryan Jelinek and Justin Wood. In the backfield, Johnson will benefit from having sophomore running back Herman Moultrie III line up behind him once again, as the sophomore led the team in rushing last season. Along with Moultrie, juniors Jackson Saffold and Jay Tolliver help bolster the ground game, both of who saw significant time last year.

Georgetown brings back a number of starters on defense as well, especially in the linebacker corp. Junior Wes Bowers returns to the Hilltop following a season in which he led the team with 91 tackles and also contributed four interceptions. To go along with Bowers, juniors Xavier Reddick, Owen Kessler and George Ikott anchor the second line of defense, all of whom posted the majority of snaps and tackles from a year ago. 

On the defensive line, senior standout Khristian Tate was recently named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America Third Team after leading the conference with 10 sacks last fall. This level of production earned Tate All-Patriot League First Team honors for the second consecutive year. 

A number of experienced players return to the defensive backfield as well for Georgetown and comprise a unit that led the Patriot League with 20 interceptions last season. Leading the Hoyas in the secondary will be senior Jalen Goldwire, who led the group with 10 passes defended, and junior Cameron Deen. Altogether, Goldwire and Deen recorded 51 tackles in 2018. 

In an interview with GUHoyas, Head Coach Rob Sgarlata emphasized the level of experience in this group while also expressing optimism about the less seasoned defensive backs. “There are some talented younger guys who are on their way up, as Jonathan [Honore] and Micah [McNeil] are really pushing those upperclassmen for playing time,” Sgarlata said. “It’s been a competitive camp and I’m excited to see how they progress once we get into the games.” 

The Hoyas will undoubtedly need their defense to come up big against the Wildcats given that Davidson averaged nearly 45 points per game last season. After their matchup with Davidson, Georgetown will have their home opener against Marist.

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