Football team has taken big steps in 2021

Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

It’s no secret that the Gannon University football team has been the punchline of some jokes in recent years, simply because the on-field product has not produced many successful seasons.

However, despite coming off a rough 63-21 loss to 15th-ranked Slippery Rock, the Knights by and large have had a successful year that has featured some dynamic on-field talent.

Players such as quarterback Kory Curtis, running back Melvin Blanks and wide receiver Johnny Freeman have provided playmaking ability when it mattered, and that has produced some solid wins over teams like Northwood, Clarion and Edinboro.

Curtis, the Ohio State transfer in his first season leading the Knights’ offense, has blossomed in head coach Erik Raeburn’s offense, completing 128 of 256 passes for 1,866 yards with 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions. That gives him a quarterback rating of 131.31%.

Blanks, the 6-foot-1 junior, has been a key asset to the offense, rushing for an average of 6.8 yards per carry and scoring eight touchdowns on the year. He has rushed for 965 yards and could go over the 1,000-yard mark Saturday at rival Mercyhurst.

Freeman and wide receiver Sam East have been key targets for Curtis, with Freeman catching 26 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns and East totaling 25 receptions for 350 yards and three scores.

The defense has also been good, with key standouts being Trey Baker, Chris Farnsworth and Khwan Mickens, among others.

Baker, a freshman linebacker, has made a mark in his rookie campaign, totaling a team-high 66 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack on the year.

Farnsworth, a sophomore defensive back, is No. 2 on the team in tackles with 61, including two for loss, and leads the team with 44 solo tackles.

Mickens, another sophomore defensive back, has 35 tackles with two interceptions to boot.

Despite the possibility of a playoff berth looking more remote by the week, this Knights have proven they aren’t the same old Knights and that good things are on the horizon for this young and hungry squad.


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