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Running back James Stanell '14 and wide receiver Joe Jensen '15 will lead the Hamilton College football program into its 121st season in 2013. Stanell received 2012 NESCAC All-Conference first team honors after he led the conference in all-purpose yards per game and ranked second with 94.5 rushing yards per game. His 1,560 all-purpose yards last year is the second-highest total in NESCAC history. Jensen finished third in the conference with 56.8 receiving yards per game. Stanell and Jensen have been recognized as Division III preseason All-Americans by the USA Football Network. Hamilton will miss linebacker Mike MacDonald '13 and quarterback Jordan Eck '13, both of whom were four-year starters. MacDonald is one of two players in team history with 300 or more career tackles, and Eck ended up in third place on the Continentals' all-time passing yards list with 4,948.

This year gets started at home on 116-year-old Steuben Field against Amherst College on Sept. 21. Wesleyan University visits on Sept. 28 for Fallcoming Weekend, and the other two home games are against Colby College (Oct. 19) and Bates College (Nov. 9). A new artificial grass surface was installed at Steuben Field in the summer of 2009. The 34th annual Old Rocking Chair Classic against Middlebury College will be played at Middlebury on Nov. 2.

Seven starters return on both sides of the ball in 2013. Last year, Hamilton scored 165 points, which was the highest offensive output for the Continentals since 1992. Stanell, Andrew Austin '13, Darren Fuller '13 and Andrew Madigan '13 are the team captains.

Stanell ran for 756 yards on 191 carries a year ago. He scored five touchdowns on the ground and caught another. Stanell was the team's third-leading receiver with 19 catches for 194 yards. Jensen led the Continentals with 28 receptions for 454 yards and six touchdowns. He caught a TD pass in each of the last five games, including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter against Bowdoin College. Simon Jia '16 added 27 catches for 260 yards and two scores. Behind center, Jeff Hopsicker '15 started the first three games last year. Hopsicker completed 27 of 57 passes for 297 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Colin Pastorella '16 saw limited duty at quarterback last year.

MacDonald, who was a two-time all-conference selection, leaves a huge void in the middle of the defense. Dan Peters '13, who was an all-NESCAC defensive back in 2011, also graduated. Defensive back Alex Mitko '16 is the leading returning tackler with 38 in 2012, and Austin added 36 from his linebacker position. Defensive end Zach Klein '15 tied for fourth in the conference with nine tackles for a loss.

On special teams, Stanell ranked sixth in the NESCAC with 21 yards per kick return. He brought one back 94 yards for a touchdown -- the second time in his Hamilton career he returned a kick for a score. Garrett Hoy '13 graduated after spending the last two seasons as the team's primary kicker and punter. Patrick Donahoe '16 shared kickoff duties with Hoy in 2012.

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 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 have gone on to great things in the coaching ranks as well. Herb Hand '90 is the offensive line coach at Penn State and Sean Ryan '94 is the quarterbacks coach in his seventh year on the staff of the NFL's New York Giants. Joe Gilbert '87 is the offensive line coach in his second year with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, and Tim Berbenich '02 is an offensive assistant with the Colts in his 10th year as an NFL coach.

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 were first team All-Americans in 1991 and 1986, respectively. Grey holds the school record for most rushing yards in a season. Jeff Hewitt '74 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 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 a loss.

Academics play an important role within the program. Jason Gardepe '13 and Jon Michel '13 earned spots on the 2012 NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team. Ted Finan '12 and Jacob Sheetz-Willard '12 made the 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.