With a 19-4-1 career record at Amherst, the 1999 senior class is eager to solidify the Lord Jeff's position as one of the elite teams in New England. There is a great deal of pride associated with the Class of '99, being one of the pivotal classes involved in the turn-around of the Amherst football program. With 19 seniors and 8 returning starters from last year's 7-1 squad, the 1998 Jeff's are primed to "MEET THE CHALLENGE" of the upcoming season.
The offense will be led by a stable of returning starters in the backfield. Darin Byrne '99, a 1997 All-NESCAC performer, and Jeff Coviello '99 should find plenty of holes in the defense running behind senior fullback Bob DiSabato '99, a three-year starter. New triggerman Mike Sweeney '99 looks to pick up where he left off against Bowdoin in 1997, completing 8-17 passes for 138 yards and three scores. Sophomore receiver Matt Hall '01 showed promise in '97. Hall should be joined by seniors Paul McGeehan '99 and Matt Hunt '99E as the Lord Jeffs prime their air attack in '98.
Heading up the talented but untested offensive line will be returning starter Luke Blocher '00, who will be making the move from guard to center. 6' 5", 300 pound Alex Zywotchencko '00, senior Jim MacDonald '99, and converted fullback Angus Leary '99 will all be relied upon to bring stability to the trenches, clearing running lanes for the Lord Jeff veteran backfield.
The Amherst defense, like the offense, will be led by a core of returning starters from last year's unit that gave up a mere 11.6 points per game. The Jeffs return their entire defensive backfield, led by two-time All-NESCAC and All-ECAC safety Todd Nichols '99. Also returning are senior safety James DeLuca '99, senior cornerback Peter McConville '99, and sophomore cornerback Brian Daoust '01, who was also named the Amherst College Rookie of the Year in 1997.
The linebackers will be anchored by senior quad-captain Alex Tracy '99, the Jeffs leading returning tackler. Supplying the heavy rush from the outside will be senior "rock" Alex Neifer '99, who returns for his senior season after leading the '97 Jeffs in sacks with 9.5. The defensive line will rely on the outstanding speed and strength of senior Greg Gottheimer '99 to fill the void left by graduation. The punting and kicking duties will be assumed by sophomore Liam Flemming '01