Justin Pyle, a senior running back for the Shippensburg University football team, has been a huge part of the Red Raiders’ success so far in 2016. But it did not start here. Pyle has loved the game of football since he was six years old.
“Ever since I was young, the camaraderie of being with all of your friends, I really grew a love for the game throughout high school and college,” said Pyle.
That camaraderie is playing a big role in what the Red Raiders are going to emphasize for the remainder of this season.
“We need to continuously strive to protect the quarterback, who is a big asset to our team,” said Pyle. “We need pass protection, ball security, and we need to limit mistakes.”
Protecting the quarterback is certainly something that needs to be done, but having a good run game will go a long ways toward opening up the passing game.
Pyle said, “That starts with a strong offensive line. Having a good, strong run game opens up the pass, which obviously we needed that with our receivers coming up big.”
The Red Raiders have a great one-two punch out of the backfield with Pyle and junior Cole Chiappialle. Pyle has led this dominant duo by amassing 445 yards at 5 yards per carry to go along with three touchdowns through the first seven games. However, Pyle is not only a threat to run but also to make some receptions out of the backfield.
“I think a major thing for [Chiappialle and I] is, we try to get the running backs out in space, and do the swing passes and get some good matchups against the linebackers. We usually go against outside linebackers, which is a favorable matchup from what coach is saying. That’s a big thing when the running backs are out in space catching the football.”
Pyle leads the team in receptions with 27 for 234 yards, clearly showing that the Red Raiders put an emphasis on involving the running backs in the passing game.
The Red Raiders are currently 5-2 after a 76–0 win over Cheyney University Saturday.