Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Thursday, September 20, 2001
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Jon-Paul Skarpetowski Although he is barely into his 20s, Muhlenberg senior linebacker Jon-Paul Skarpetowski is already working on his “Greatest Hits” package.

In the season-opener at Kings Point, he tackled a punt returner so hard that his helmet popped off. Against Dickinson, Skarpetowski flipped a ball-carrier head over heels, forcing a fumble that led to the Mules’ first touchdown. Both players returned to action later in the game, but they probably felt that it would be unlucky to cross paths with No. 13 again.

“It’s a game of violence. I want to hit people hard,” he said. “Usually those big hits help morale. Everyone gets psyched up.

“I’m not trying to hurt them, but I am trying to hit them as hard as possible. It stops people from wanting to play. You hit them hard like that two or three times, they don’t want to play anymore.”

Fueling those big hits is a mean streak that crops up in Skarpetowski when he’s not on the field. Skarpetowski is the linebacker who comes out of the game when Muhlenberg goes to five defensive backs. It’s an arrangement he doesn’t enjoy.

“When you let me play, I can make anything happen,” he said. “I’m like a caged animal when I don’t play. I harness all my anger and aggression and I release it at certain points, at the right points.”

Skarpetowski has been taking out his anger on opponents since early in his freshman year, when he was inserted into the Franklin & Marshall game in place of upperclassmen who were not getting the job done. He forced two fumbles in that game, the third of his career, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Skarpetowski recently recorded his 100th career tackle (he has 107) and leads all active players with 15.5 tackles for loss. The former high school running back also made one of the team’s biggest special teams plays in 2000 when he took a fake punt 4 yards late in the fourth quarter to help ice a two-point win at Ursinus.

A communication major and business minor, Skarpetowski plans to go into the advertising world after graduation. “Advertising is everywhere you go,” he said. “It influences you and makes people want to buy things. I want to make money doing that. I want to come up with the idea, develop it, produce it, possibly direct my own commercials.”

If Skarpetowski is looking for a catchy slogan to descirbe his play on the field, he can borrow from Avis: “We hit harder!”


Who: Muhlenberg (2-1, 1-0) at Franklin & Marshall (1-2, 0-1)
What: A Centennial Conference game between two programs currently at the opposite side of the spectrum. The Mules are 11-3 since the start of the 2000 season; the Diplomats are 1-12.
When: Saturday, September 22, 1:00
Where: Sponaugle-Williamson Field, Lancaster
On the Air: Greg Kadetsky, Justin Deutsch and Jon Eddy will call the game live on WMUH 91.7 FM. To listen in, go to the WMUH Web site and click on Real Audio.

Series Record: Franklin & Marshall holds a 47-36-1 series lead, but the Mules have won the last two. Since 1990, seven of the 11 Muhlenberg-F&M games have been decided by four points or fewer. The other four were decided by 28, 53, 29 and 45 points.

Last Year: The Muhlenberg defense recorded eight sacks and allowed a school record-low 59 total yards, including minus-11 on the ground, in a 45-0 Homecoming shutout. Joshua Carter set school records for all-purpose yards (222) and touchdown receptions (four) in a game.

Scouting the Diplomats: F&M snapped its 10-game losing streak by defeating Oberlin in its season-opener, but has since lost big to Catholic (28-7) and Ursinus (41-14). Sophomore Doug Hiltner made his first career start as the Dips’ QB last week and threw for 176 yards. Junior tight end Matt Wagaman caught seven balls for 102 yards and is tied for the team lead with 13 receptions on the season. F&M managed only 8 yards on the ground against Ursinus and is last in the CC in rushing at 105.0 yards per game. The Dips also have given up the most sacks (11), are minus-9 in turnover margin, and all but 12 of their 47 points have been scored in the fourth quarter. Defensively, junior linebacker Pete Mohoric and junior end Chris Gallino rank among the CC leaders with five and four sacks, respectively. On special teams, sophomore Jay Tressler leads the CC with a 13.9 average on punt returns, but F&M is allowing a CC-worst 22.7 yards per kickoff return.

Scouting the Mules: Muhlenberg’s offensive and defensive lines both dominated in a 47-3 win against Dickinson last week. The 47 points were the most scored by the Mules against the Red Devils since 1968. Muhlenberg rushed for 296 yards and six touchdowns against a 4-4 defense that had allowed only 205 yards on the ground in the first two games combined, and held Dickinson to 180 total yards and 2.7 yards per play. Sophomore running back Matt Bernardo rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns, while senior Kamali Roberts gained 77 yards on only seven carries and found the end zone twice. Junior quarterback Justin Jones threw for one touchdown and ran for another. Junior defensive end Mike Ferreira recorded two sacks, increasing his team-leading total to five, and senior defensive end Tyler Cathey recovered two fumbles. The Mules are second in the CC in scoring offense (36.3 point per game) and passing offense (212.3 yards per game) but are last in pass efficiency defense.

Record Watch: Two Muhlenberg players are closing in on career milestones. Matt Bernardo needs only 31 yards to become the 20th player in team history to rush for 1,000 yards in a career. With 21 rushing touchdowns in just 13 games, he also is only four TDs away from the school record of 25 in a career ... Joshua Carter has 38 career touchdowns, two away from the school record of 40 set in 1927.

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Last updated September 20, 2001