Spring is a season of new beginnings, and April 16 marked the official start of the 2016 Shippensburg University football season. The Raiders kicked off the year with their annual Red-White Spring Game. The White team was victorious, 13-3.
The White team included the first team offense and the second team defense, while the Red team featured the first team defense and the second team offense.
The White team scored the lone touchdown in the low scoring affair on a Cole Chiappialle 24-yard run. Chiappialle — the transfer running back from Penn State — had his run set up by his own flea-flicker pass to wide receiver Brady Forney for 43 yards.
Chiappialle finished the game with 64 total yards and the touchdown. After the game, he was feeling good about his performance.
“It’s been almost about a year and a half since I really played football so it’s good to get back out there,” Chiappialle said. “My line did a great job today, and I can’t do anything without them so all the glory goes to them. It was a great day for Shippensburg.”
Quarterback Ryan Zapoticky led the first team offense, completing 17-24 passes for 175 yards, and running for another 13 yards on the ground.
“I felt, as an offensive unit, that we did pretty decent. We did a great job of moving the ball down the field, but we just need to finish drives a little better and that will come with time,” Zapoticky said.
The offense looked good, but the defense and special teams were the stars of the show on Saturday. The defense had a combined 12 tackles for loss including seven sacks. The defense was lead by linebackers Allen Holman and Tyler Emge. Emge lead all tacklers with nine total for the game. The breakout freshman Richard Nase looked good with three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, while fellow defensive end Dakota Thompson had 1.5 sacks for the White team.
Kicker Billy Deane had a great day by going 3 for 5 on field goal attempts Saturday, including a long of 54 yards in the second quarter. He kicked for both teams and ended the day with a 33-yarder at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Deane said of his longest kick, “It feels great honestly, and it’s about time for me. I feel like I had worked really hard for it and hope there’s more to come.”
The second-team offense and defense did not disappoint either. London Whitfield led the charge for the second-team offense rushing attack, with 37 yards on the ground, and seven more yards through the air. John also impressed, with three tackles including two sacks.
The Raiders 2016 season will begin in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the team will take on American International University.