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Lafayette Football Wraps Up Spring Practice with Maroon-White Game

More Coverage: Lafayette News Stand | Segment of Maroon-White Game | Championship Ring Ceremony

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    April 21, 2007

    EASTON, Pa. ( - The Lafayette football team concluded spring practice with the annual Maroon-White spring game on Saturday morning at Fisher Stadium.

    The offense (wearing white) posted a 41-18 win over the defense using a modified scoring system that awarded points for first downs and scoring plays for the offense, and stops and turnovers for the defense.

    "I was very pleased with our overall effort today to complete an extremely productive spring practice," said head coach Frank Tavani, who has led Lafayette to a share of each of the last three Patriot League championships. "We got to see all of the kids we wanted to see and use every opportunity to take advantage of the competition that has made us a better team and a better program."

    The defense set the pace early, allowing just five first downs in the first five possessions of the game. Senior tailback Anthony D'Urso scored the first touchdown of the day, as he carried four times for 19 yards and scored on a two-yard run. The defense pulled within 11-10 on an interception and 32-yard return by Nigel Bryant on the next series, and briefly took a 12-11 lead after forcing a three-and-out on the following drive.

    "We limit some of the things that the defense is able to do, to give our offense a better look at a base package, so that puts them at a disadvantage, but I thought they played extremely well early in the scrimmage. They made some plays and then the offense came back and was productive. We've seen that all spring," Tavani mentioned.

    Senior Michael DiPaola (95 yards, TD) and sophomore Robert Curley (85 yards) were both 8-for-13 through the air, while sophomore Josh Jones was 5-for-8 for 80 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

    "We wanted to give all three of the quarterbacks equal reps and I thought we were able to do that," Tavani said. "We took all of the pressure off of them until the fall when we'll put them under the gun during preseason camp. I thought each of them threw the ball very well, made good decisions and made great progress this spring as we sort out the quarterback position for next season."

    DiPaola threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to senior Kyle Roeder, and Jones hit senior James Dixon for a 40-yard score as Dixon made a fingertip catch on a pattern down the left sideline. Roeder (three catches, 44 yards), Dixon (2-55), junior Shaun Adair (3-36), senior Duaeno Dorsey (2-27) and junior Tim Watson (2-18) all had multiple catches from the wide receiver position.

    Sophomore DeAndre' Morrow ran seven times for 30 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He finished a 40-yard drive with a one-yard run, scored from 14 yards out on a red zone series, and also converted a fourth-and-two with a three-yard run. DiPaola connected with Roeder for the touchdown on the next play.

    Junior Maurice White, going into his first year as a starter, carried the ball just four times but caught a 31-yard pass from DiPaola on a wheel route on the first series to convert a third-and-seven. The Leopards ran the ball 26 times and dropped back to throw 40 times during the scrimmage. The rest of the day included several series to simulate punting and field goal situations.

    "We emphasized running the toss and zone plays and eliminated some of the power running game that you're used to seeing so we could limit any situations that might produce injuries," Tavani said. "I asked our coaching staff to throw it a little more to get a look at the quarterbacks and I was very pleased with that."

    Tavani mentioned linebackers Mark Plumby, Andy Romans and Mark Leggiero as the group that stood out on the defensive side of the ball this spring.

    "Mark Leggiero benefited greatly from playing as a freshman. That year of experience has given him a lot of confidence and he's playing more relaxed," Tavani said. "Last spring, Mark Plumby was going into his first year as a starter and we were hoping he'd be able to develop, and he's become a very good linebacker going into his senior year. Andy Romans continues to impress us and at this point in his career, he's as good as any linebacker we've had."

    The Leopards will return to the practice field in early August to prepare for the 2007 season, which will kickoff on Sept. 1 vs. Marist under the lights at Fisher Stadium. The first three home night games in school history highlight the early season schedule, while the Leopards will also host Patriot League opponents Fordham, Colgate and Bucknell before traveling to Holy Cross and Lehigh to close the regular season.

    Lafayette is one of six teams in the FCS (NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, formerly I-AA) to compete in the NCAA Playoffs in each of the last three years. The Leopards will attempt to become just the second team in Patriot League history to win four straight championships, and would be the first team to make four consecutive appearances in the postseason.