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Marist Thrilled with Conference Slate
Foxes preparing for Pioneer League.
This fall will bring a whole new world for the Marist College football team.
Entering their first season in the Pioneer Football League, the Red Foxes announced their 11-game 2009 schedule on Tuesday. The slate features eight games in the PFL and three non-league contests.
This past fall, Marist played an independent schedule and finished with a record of 4-7, but defeated future PFL foe Davidson on the road, 24-19, to close the season on Nov. 15. The Red Foxes lost to PFL team San Diego, 40-22, on the road to open the season.
Marist had been a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League since 1993, but the league disbanded after the 2007 season, due to lack of membership. Saint Peter’s and Iona ended their programs and Duquesne joined the Northeast Conference.
“We are very excited to come into the Pioneer League next year,” said Marist head coach Jim Parady, who will be entering his 18th season in Poughkeepsie this fall. “It’s a great opportunity for our program, for our kids and for our coaches. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a while.”
After opening the season on the road against NEC member Sacred Heart, the Red Foxes will host their first PFL game on Sept. 12 in Tenney Stadium at Leonidoff Field against Drake.
Marist has four other home games on the schedule, facing new PFL rivals Campbell (Oct. 3, Family Weekend) and Valparaiso (Oct. 31) and defending PFL champion Jacksonville (Oct. 10, Alumni Weekend) and hosting former MAAC Football League rival Georgetown on Nov. 7 for Senior Day.
The road slate features a trip to PFL rival San Diego for the fourth time in seven seasons on Sept. 19. The Red Foxes will look to avenge a tough home loss at Bucknell on Sept. 26. Last season, Bucknell, of the Patriot League, defeated Marist, 21-17, on a touchdown with 1 minute and two seconds left on the clock.
The rest of the Marist road schedule features road games against PFL rivals Morehead State (Oct. 24), Davidson (Nov. 14) and Dayton (Nov. 21).
The only PFL team the Red Foxes will not face next season is Butler. The league rotates the series on a semi-annual basis. The winner of the PFL championship faces the winner of the Northeast Conference in the season-ending Gridiron Classic.
“I love the schedule, first and foremost, because we have the eight conference games,” Parady said. “It’s absolutely a complete change from the last six or seven years. You can lose more than one game and still have a shot at winning a championship. As you’re preparing, week in and week out, that makes a huge difference for your kids.”
Key returners for next season’s Red Foxes are senior quarterback Chris Debowski, linebacker Nick Andre and defensive back Rory Foley. Parady said he has a recruiting class of 24 students from 11 different states that will be coming to campus in August.
“It’s been much easier to get a kid interested in the school because of the national schedule,” Parady said. “We offer something for the Connecticut kid, the New Jersey kid, the Massachusetts kid, New York plus New England, that no other schools around us offer.”
Marist is in its offseason conditioning program - that’s getting up at 6 a.m. to work out - but begins “Spring ball” on March 27, practicing on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Practices are open to the public.
Marist’s annual Spring Game will be held on April 25 at 2 p.m.
2009 Marist football schedule
Saturday, Sept. 5 at Sacred Heart
Saturday, Sept. 12 vs. Drake*
Saturday, Sept. 19 at San Diego*
Saturday, Sept. 26 at Bucknell
Saturday, Oct. 3 vs. Campbell*
Saturday, Oct. 10 vs. Jacksonville*
Saturday, Oct. 17 BYE
Saturday, Oct. 24 at Morehead St.*
Saturday, Oct. 31 vs. Valparaiso*
Saturday, Nov. 7 vs. Georgetown
Saturday, Nov. 14 at Davidson*
Saturday, Nov. 21 at Dayton*
Marist thrilled with conference slate
By Phil Strum, The Poughkeepsie Journal