Kickoff for the 2019 UMass Dartmouth football season is less than three weeks away, and as preparations continue under the hot August sun, Head Coach Mark Robichaud has named three upperclassmen to serve as the Corsairs' captains this fall.
Senior Tony Slaughter (Springfield, Mass./Chicopee) and juniors Jacob Burkhead (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) & Stephen Gacioch (Tiverton, R.I./Tiverton) will assume the mantle of leadership, as the trio has earned all-Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference accolades throughout their respective careers. Slaughter, a two-time all-MASCAC selection and two-year team captain, collected first team honors as a return specialist after averaging 8.5 yards per punt return. Tony was also tabbed to the second team all-conference defensive squad after amassing 54 total tackles, two interceptions and a fumble return for a touchdown a year ago.
Burkhead followed up his MASCAC Defensive Rookie of the Year performance of 2017 by pacing UMass Dartmouth with 65 total tackles (49 solo) while adding four interceptions and seven pass break-ups. Jacob also continues to excel in the classroom, as he became the second Corsair in school history (and the first male) to earn Google Cloud Academic All-America honors after being named to CoSIDA's second team national squad.
Gacioch, who was named as the MASCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year two seasons ago, took his performance to a higher level last fall after tying the school single-season passing yardage mark of 2,298. Stephen, a second team all-league pick in 2018, amassed over 2,600 yards of total offense and accounted for 23 total touchdowns (19 passing, four rushing).
In addition to their standout performances on the gridiron, all three of this year's captains have excelled in their studies. Burkhead, who has attained a perfect 4.00 grade point average as a Political Science major through four semesters, has joined Slaughter and Gacioch in earning spots on both the MASCAC Fall All-Academic Team and UMass Dartmouth Athletic Director's Honor Roll throughout their careers.
Robichaud, who is beginning his 13th season on the UMass Dartmouth sidelines, describes the trio has "having earned the respect of their teammates throughout hard work and outstanding achievement both on and off the field. They embody the qualities that we want everyone in this program to display and emulate, and I have no doubt they will continue to lead effectively by example."
The Corsairs begin the 2019 season on Saturday, September 7th by hosting Alfred State in a non-league clash at Cressy Field that kicks off at Noon EDT.