Quarterback Reynolds to get first start as HU hosts Comets

A new season in college football always means change.

Graduation is bound to hit every team, and every roster is bound to have some turnover.

But in Heidelberg University’s case, the hits from graduation were severe.

The Student Princes lost – arguably – their best player on offense, and their best player on defense.

Quarterback Tyler Stoyle, a starter since his freshman year, is gone. So is defensive lineman Austin Crow, whom coach Scott Donaldson called the best player to ever wear a Heidelberg uniform.

Anyone who watched the all-American play knows the statement wasn’t an exaggeration.

But there’s no such thing as a “too good to leave” redshirt. And when Heidelberg kicks off its season tonight against Olivet at Hoernemann Stadium, it will be looking to other players to fill those spots.

At quarterback, Donaldson will entrust the position to senior Trace Reynolds. The veteran has not started a collegiate game, but has been lauded by Donaldson for his leadership skills.

And, just as importantly, he’s a good player. Donaldson is expecting Reynolds to be ready.

“Trace is such a great quarterback; he’s been waiting for this,” Donaldson said. “He’s always prepared like a starter, whether he was or not.”

He will be facing a good-sized defense against Olivet. Donaldson said the Comets are focused on preventing the big play.

“They’re not gonna let you beat them over the top,” Donaldson said. “You’re gonna have to string together drives, sting together a lot of plays to get the ball in the end zone.”

It will be tough to replace Stoyle; nearly impossible to replace Crow’s production.

“You just gotta be sound up front,” Donaldson said. “Guys like Colin Pecoraro have really stepped up; I’m really excited to see what he does.”

Donaldson added Loren Sauve, Matt Davenport and Bret Finck also will be key players to fill Crow’s production.

ABOUT THE COMETS: This is the second-consecutive year the Student Princes have opened the season with Olivet. Last year, Heidelberg traveled to Michigan and beat the Comets, 40-24. Stoyle threw for 309 yards and three TDs. Crow had two tackles for a loss, and another since-graduated player — receiver Demetrius Magee — had nine catches for 136 yards. … Lane Porter, Olivet’s quarterback, had 301 total yards in the game last season. The senior finished the 2017 season throwing 17 touchdowns and for more than 2,500 yards. He started every game and helped the Comets to a 5-5 mark. … The Lancing, Michigan, native has made an impression on Donaldson. “Their quarterback is a 6-5, 250-pound Ivan Drago look-a-like,”the coach said, referencing the Dolph Lundgren-played super villain in Rocky IV.

ABOUT THE COACHES: Donaldson begins his third season as coach at Heidelberg. He started as an assistant at ‘Berg in 2004. In his three seasons, Donaldson has compiled a 13-7 record. … Olivet coach Dan Musielwicz is in his second season as Comets coach. He spent five seasons before that as an Olivet assistant. He played four seasons at Hillsdale.