This year gets started at 2011 NESCAC champion Amherst College on Sept. 22. Hamilton's first home game is against Trinity College during Fallcoming Weekend on Oct. 6. The Continentals also host Bowdoin College and Williams College in October. The 33rd annual Old Rocking Chair Classic against Middlebury College will be played at Hamilton on Nov. 3.
MacDonald was an all-conference second team selection last year, and has made more than 200 tackles at linebacker in his college career. He ranked third in the NESCAC with 11 tackles per game (88 total), tied for sixth with 9.5 tackles for loss and tied for ninth with four sacks in 2011. Peters was placed on the all-NESCAC second team with MacDonald on defense. The free safety led the team with three interceptions, tied for sixth in the conference with eight passes defended and tied for 10th with 8.1 tackles per game (65 total). Ian Milne '15 burst onto the scene with a team-high five sacks from his linebacker spot as a rookie.
Eck emerged as one of the conference's top quarterbacks last year. He ranked second in the NESCAC with 223.4 passing yards per game and was fourth in passing efficiency. Eck completed better than 63 percent of his passes and threw for eight touchdowns. He moved into fourth place on the program's all-time list with 3,743 passing yards. Eck has started under center for nearly every game since he arrived on campus in 2008. He missed the entire 2009 schedule with health issues.
James Stanell '14 picked up where he left off after a standout first year at running back and as a kick returner. Stanell ranked fourth in the NESCAC with 115.6 all-purpose yards per game and a 21.1 kick return average, and tied for eighth place with six touchdowns last year. In 2010, Stanell averaged 5.1 yards per carry and returned one kick 80 yards for a touchdown. He scored at least one touchdown rushing, receiving and returning kicks.
Kevin Petrick '13 leads the receiving corps from his tight end position. Petrick ranked 10th in the NESCAC with 49.7 yards per game, and caught a total of 30 passes for 348 yards and two scores last year. Garrett Hoy '13 was ninth with 4.62 receptions per game (37 total) and finished with a team-high 383 yards at wide receiver. Hoy also serves as the team's kicker and punter. He was a perfect 14-for-14 on extra-point attempts last year.
Edwin Sweetland was one of the first men to walk the sidelines as head coach of the Continentals. Sweetland guided the program to an 8-2-1 record in 1899 and then was the head coach at Syracuse University the next three seasons. He came back to Hamilton to lead the team to a 6-3 record in 1903 before he moved on to Ohio State University, where he was the head coach in 1904 and 1905. He went on to be the head coach at several other schools including Colgate University, the University of Kentucky, Miami University (Ohio), West Virginia University, Tulane University and Alfred University. He was Kentucky's first athletic director.
Forest Evashevski, who passed away in October 2009, guided the Continentals to a 5-2 record as head coach in 1941. Evashevski went on to lead Washington State University for two seasons and the University of Iowa for nine more. He coached Iowa to two Rose Bowl victories, and the Football Writers Association of America recognized the 1958 team as national champions. Former players Herb Hand '90 and Sean Ryan '94 have gone on to great things in the coaching ranks as well. Hand is the offensive line coach at Vanderbilt University and Ryan is the quarterbacks coach in his sixth year with the NFL's New York Giants.
2008 marked the 50th anniversary of the lone unbeaten team in program history. The Continentals were 6-0-1 in 1958 as a 12-all tie with Hobart College was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season. Hamilton enjoyed eight straight winning seasons from 1960 to 1967. The 1963 team finished 7-1, which remains the highest number of victories in one season for the program since 1900. That 1900 squad ended up 8-1 and would have been undefeated and unscored upon if it weren't for an 11-0 loss to West Point. In 1984, Steve Stetson guided the Continentals to a 6-1-1 record with the help of Associated Press Little All-America selections Seamus Crotty '86 and Mike Lentini '85. Hamilton finished with a winning record 10 times from 1985 through 1996.
Eighteen Continentals have earned a total of 20 All-America selections since 1941. Running back Eric Grey '93 and offensive lineman Joe Gilbert '87 were first team All-Americans in 1991 and 1986, respectively. Grey holds the school record for most rushing yards in a season. Gilbert is an assistant offensive line coach with the Indianapolis Colts. Jeff Hewitt played 10 games for the Dallas Cowboys in 1974 after signing with the team as a free agent. Hewitt was an honorable mention All-America college division pick as a defensive lineman in 1973.
Four members of Hamilton's celebrated 2006 defense made the NESCAC all-conference team, including rookie of the year John Lawrence '10. Lawrence finished his career with three all-conference awards, including the first team in 2009. The Continentals ranked seventh in NCAA Division III in scoring defense in 2006 with 10.3 points allowed per game. Hamilton blanked two teams that year and didn't allow more than 20 points in any game. The last time the Continentals had more than four players recognized by the NESCAC in one year was 2001, when five were honored.
Led by all-conference defensive lineman Burke St. John '11, who was voted to the 2009 East Region's all-region third team by D3football.com, Hamilton finished third in the NESCAC in pass defense (207 yards allowed per game) and fourth in total defense (330 yards allowed per game) in 2010. The Continentals tied for second in the conference with 20 sacks, and Jim Forrey '13 was a big reason why. Forrey led the NESCAC with seven sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
Academics play an important role within the program. Ted Finan '12 and Jacob Sheetz-Willard '12 made the NESCAC fall all-academic team and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) academic all-district first team for football in 2011. Finan and Sheetz-Willard were also elected to the Epsilon chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which is the nation's oldest honor society.