Dutchmen have a way to go
In preseason camp, the Union College football team had reason for optimism.
After all, the Dutchmen were returning almost all of their skill-position players on offense, including one of the best quarterback-wideout tandems in the Liberty League in Connor Eck and Kyle Reynolds.
Boy, have things changed.
Reynolds, who caught 40 passes for 11 touchdowns a year ago, is out for the season with a rotator-cuff injury, and senior running back/Dylan Schuck, a versatile and valuable reserve, especially in the red zone, is also out with an ACL injury.
The Dutchmen do have plenty of other wideouts and running backs, but the loss of Reynolds looked like a major hit during Saturday's 17-3 loss to Ithaca in Union's home opener on Frank Bailey Field.
Eck had a difficult time finding another go-to receiver. Joseph Vito made a few nice catches and finished up with six catches for 57 yards. Tight end Kenny Schunck was also solid, with three catches for 26 yards. But where is the break-away threat?
Eck completed only 15 of 29 passes for 140 yards and was intercepted once to go along with four quarterback sacks. Throw in the fact that Union's rushing attack combined for just 82 yards on 38 carries, and you can plenty of reason for concern.
Union's defense played pretty well against the Bombers, but it did give up several big plays, including a couple to the Bombers' big tight end, who finished with 165 yards on six catches. BH-BL graduate Phil Neumann completed 11 of 20 passes for 219 yards for the Bombers, so there was some joy for local football fans.
Next week Union hosts St. Lawrence in the league opener. Union better shift into another gear, because the gear the Dutchmen are in right now won't get the job done.