Lock Haven at St. Francis
Lock Haven will open the 2017 season on Saturday at Saint Francis in Loretto. The Bald Eagles and Red Flash will kick things off at noon.
The Bald Eagles hope they can take the momentum of a strong 2016 campaign into Saturday. For LHU, it will be a mix of new and old, and third-year head coach Dave Taynor is optimistic Lock Haven has a winning formula. The Bald Eagles Week 1 opponent – Saint Francis – is coming off a historic 2016 season of its own. The Red Flash went 7-5 overall and won the Northeast Conference (NEC) title after going 5-1 in league action. Saint Francis earned a bid to the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs for the first time in school history last season.
Last season, Lock Haven went 4-7, with all four wins coming against PSAC East foes Cheyney, Millersville, Bloomsburg and East Stroudsburg. The Bald Eagles finished 4-3 in PSAC East play. The four wins were the most since Lock Haven won four games in 2002. The four PSAC Divisional wins were the most since 1979. As a team, LHU broke single-season records for total points (323), total offense (4,954 yards.) and team passing offense (3,158 yards.).
LHU is 1-5 all-time vs. the Red Flash in a series that dates back to 1915. The Bald Eagles took on Saint Francis in their 1950 season-opener and came away with their only win in the series, a 26-13 win on the road.
Saturday’s game marks Lock Haven’s 12th meeting with a Division I FCS opponent since 2000 and first since a season-opening loss at Fordham in 2012. Of those 12 games vs. FCS opponents since 2000, eight have been season-openers. LHU hasn’t beaten a FCS opponent since 1971 when the Bald Eagles opened the season with a 14-7 victory over Delaware State.
In 2017, redshirt-junior Cameron Tobias takes over at quarterback after the graduation of one of the school’s all-time greats in Caleb Walton. Tobias attempted only 10 passes last season, but quickly showed in spring ball and during preseason camp that he can certainly air it out and help keep the Bald Eagles high-flying attack rolling like the previous two seasons.
Tobias will certainly benefit from the return of All-American tight end Del’Vaughn Dennis. Last season, Dennis hauled in 36 catches, for 523 yards (58.1 yds./game) and three TDs.