Head Coach: Bob Jojo (6th season)
2002 Record: 4-5
Returning Starters: 12 (offense: 4, defense 8)
Conference: Northeast Football Conference
2002 Recap: Last year's squad struggled to a 4-5 record. Inexperience, especially on offense, and special teams problems prevented head coach Bob Jojo's team from getting over the hump. "We were very inexperienced at the skill positions (on offense) with a first year quarterback. The wide receivers were very inexperienced," said Jojo. A bright spot on offense was tailback Emmanuel Marc (5-10, 175), who went for 1,227 yards and made first-team all-conference and honorable mention all-American. "We like to be a fifty-fifty running and throwing team. We didn't have a quarterback, though, so our opponents forced us to run. Special teams were a problem too. We had 4 punts blocked versus Navy Prep, and they ended up with 3 touchdowns on special teams," said Jojo. The HVCC defense played well at times, but was inconsistent.
2003 Outlook: HVCC should have a very strong front 7 heading into the fall. "We certainly are excited about the people we have returning on defense. Our 3 front guys are being looked at by D1s," said Jojo, who named nose guard Earnest Jones (6-2, 305) and defensive ends Jermaine Price (6-3, 245) and Frantzy Dorleane (6-4, 255) as guys to watch. Dorleane was a free safety in high school and reportedly runs a 4.6 forty. Jojo feels good about his linebackers, too. The weakness on defense is in the secondary. The offense should be improved with Marc returning and three starters back on the offensive line. But questions remain at quarterback and wide receiver where freshmen may have big roles. "We have decent recruits at wide receiver. Greg Hill from Long Branch, New Jersey, who is 6-2, 205 pounds, looks great. (In high school) he may have been offered by Boston College, North Carolina and Rutgers," said Jojo. The graduation of tight end Anthony Martinez (Temple signee) leaves a big hole, but Jojo thinks he has a capable replacement in Jawad "J.J." Nesheiwat (6-4, 255). "He's a better blocker than Martinez and just as good a receiver," said Jojo of Nesheiwat, who redshirted after a pre-season ankle injury. Temple, Connecticut, and Troy State have already made contact with J.J., who is a qualifier with plans to graduate in December. With stronger play at the quarterback spot HVCC should return to their winning ways.
Keep an Eye On: The defensive leader will be OLB John Howell (6-1, 240), who is a returning starter. A native of South Carolina, Howell ran a 4.51 forty during the spring. "He's certainly looking at some of the four-year schools down south like Kansas and South Carolina," said Jojo. Howell has a unique story. After high school he recorded an 8-2 record pitching for a division one junior college baseball team that went to the world series. Howell then left the sporting world for three years in the military. "Because of the military exception Howell will have 3 to play 2 after this season," Jojo pointed out.