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Dickens wins his first game as TCNJ head football coach, as the Lions win 7-2 over Southern Virginia

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By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer

Ewing – Wayne Dickens has won his first college football game at The College of New Jersey.

Dickens, who was hired as the interim head coach two weeks before the practice started, came into the game with an 0-2 mark. Now, with the win, his career mark is 1-2 on the season with the Lions.

TCNJ Athletics

TCNJ Athletics

The Lions defeated the Southern Virginia University, 7-2, this afternoon at Lions Stadium.

“Well, its been several weeks coming,” said Dickens. “We were close a couple of times, but close only counts in hand grenades and horse shoes. We still stubbed our toes a couple of times today. We had wide open receivers and we missed them. We also laid the ball on the ground a couple times – and those kinds of things will kill you.”

The Lions are 1-2 on the year with New Jersey Athletic Conference conference opener next week at home against Montclair State at 7 pm on October 5th. Southern Virginia dropped to 2-2.

“That Montclair State game is a big game for us,” said Paladino. “We have it at home, so we must capitalize on home field advantage.”

The Knights will join the New Jersey Athletic Conference next year, as Brockport leaves. The Golden Eagles will move to the Empire 8 Conference.

Lions quarterback Sam Paladino went 7-for-13 for 51 yards and a touchdown. While Christopher Spellman went 7-for-11 for 78 yards. Frederick Sprengel led the team with 72 yards receiving.

Knights quarterback Andy Jones went 12-for-19 for 97 yards. He was also sacked six times. Dee Sanford led the team with 38 receiving yards.

The Knights came into the game with 101 rushing plays in their past two wins, while averaging 216.7 rushing yards per game. However, against the Lions, they had 5 rushing yards in the entire game.

“One of the biggest positives of this game was that we won and we played 60 minutes of football,” said Dickens. “Our defense played a magnificat job, as they couldn’t get anything going. We did some good things on defense and I believe we had six sacks. ”

The Knights were averaging 85.2 passing yards come in, and had 97 yards passing.

The Lions had 16 first downs compared to 5 first downs for the Knights. The Lions had a 114 yards rushing and a 129 yards passing.

The Lions had a 107 yards in the second half, while the Knights only had 85 yards. Yet, neither team scored in the second half.

“We wanted to keep the time of possession going,” said Paladino. “That’s why we did not score. Up front [offensive line] did well, and it all goes to them and the backs. We kept the time moving, which helped us seal the win.”

The first half of play the Lions had 136 total yards, and the Knights could only muster 17 yards. The Knights had 6 passing yards and 11 rushing yards.

However, the Lions could only get the offense going late in first half. Paladino threw a touchdown to Brandon Brocklehurst for a 12-yard touchdown to make it 7-2 with 27 seconds left in the half.

“It was a play that we knew from film study what we were going to get from that situation,” said Dickens. “We had the play called earlier, but they stopped us. So we came back to it and the way that they were playing defense, they gave us certain things.”

With 7:36 left in the second quarter, the Lions made a key change at quarterback. Chris Spellman was replaced by Sam Paladino.

“We had a number of mistakes at that time, so I decided to give the other guy a shot,” said Dickens.

The Knights got a safety in the first quarter. Dakoda Winsor tackled Brad Young in the end zone for the safety.

“As a spectator on that play, it could have been a huge play in the game, because they got the ball right back,” said Paladino. “We were lucky to not let the momentum swing and come out with the victory in the game.”

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