Union's passing game is in good hands
SCHENECTADY Chemistry between a quarterback and his prime receiving threat is a hard thing to explain.
But junior signalcaller Connor Eck and junior wideout Kyle Reynolds know they’ve got it. This talented tandem will go a long way in determining how successful the Union College football team will be this season.
“It didn’t just begin last season. We bonded as friends during our freshmen season, and it blossomed off the field, even on the JV team,” said Eck during Wednesday’s annual media day. “Kyle has that ‘it’ factor. I noticed he was a playmaker right away, and it became my job to get him the ball.
“Football wise, we think a lot alike. We know our reads, and we’re on the same page with all of our routes. It all comes down to the fact that Kyle is a playmaker. He’s one of the guys who I’ve got to get the ball to.”
“I just follow the game plan,” said Reynolds, who caught 40 passes for 618 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season on the varsity. “We really seemed to have a good chemistry together. We practice a lot together, and we have a lot of repetitions. I think the more you work together, the more chemistry you have, but it did seem like we developed it pretty quickly. We have a lot of good receivers, and I expect Connor to get the ball to all of them. It’s my job to be ready when he throws it to me.”
Reynolds, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder from American Heritage High School in Delray Beach, Fla., said he’s overjoyed just to be playing on offense, let alone be assuming the role as the Dutchmen’s top
“In high school, I was more of a defensive player,” he said. “I did play some offense, but defense was where I played the most. I like getting the ball in my hands.”
Eck’s rapid maturation into an all-around strong quarterback helped the Dutchmen rebound from an 0-3 start to a solid 6-4 campaign a year ago.
He completed 134 of 224 passes for 1,914 yards and 17 touchdown passes. Remarkably, he was intercepted just three times.
The 6-2, 195-pound graduate of Rye High School also ran for 379 yards and four touchdowns.
“My job is never easy, but it’s nice to know I’ve got the job this year,” said Eck, who had to battle Nick Becker for the starting QB position early on before establishing himself as the No. 1 guy.
“I’m pumped up to have a good year. Experience is everything. The No. 1 thing is to do it on the field. It’s awesome to have a lot of my offensive guys back. Many of them are my best friends. Every day is a competition. You’ve just got to push yourself.”
Veteran head coach John Audino, who has a 147-64 record in his 21 seasons with the Garnet, is thrilled Eck turned out to be such a standout player and leader.
“He had an outstanding season,” said Audino. “He’s an excellent athlete who can throw the ball and run it. The amazing thing was that he was intercepted only three times.
“Both Connor and Kyle are very good players, but I’m sure opponents saw what they did last year. Now, it will be up to Connor to distribute the ball more to his other receivers.”
Brian Havlicek also returns
after catching 15 passes for 220 yards. The Dutchmen also appear to be well stocked in the backfield with T.J. Franzese (819 yards, seven touchdowns), Darnel Thomas (408 yards, six touchdowns) and Dylan Shuck (three touchdowns).
Union fought back from an 0-3 start in non-conference games to finish 6-1 in the Liberty League.
14 — at Utica, 7; 21 — ITHACA, 1; 28 — ST. LAWRENCE, 1.
5 — at Springfield, 12; 12 — WPI, 1:30; 19 — at Western New England, 1; 26 — at Rochester, 12.
2 — HOBART, 12; 9 — at U.S. Merchant Marine, 12; 16 — RPI, 12.
Home games in CAPS.