Sparta grad gets ready for football season

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    SPARTA- Warwick, R.I.'s luxurious Crowne Plaza Hotel was the venue for the Atlantic 10 Football Conference's media meeting. With a membership of a dozen schools ranging from Maine to Virginia, the Atlantic 10 Football Conference is arguably the top NCAA Division I-AA conference and a Sparta product will look to continue that tradition.. Sparta's Patrick McCrosson, a 6-4, 244-pound sophomore who saw action in all 11 games last year as a red-shirt freshman, is projected to be the starting defensive end for the Black Bears of the University of Maine. A graduate of Seton Hall Prep in 2002, McCrosson was a two-way standout, recording 76 tackles and eight-and-a-half sacks while hailing in 44 passes for over 700 yards and six touchdowns his senior year. Last season, McCrosson came up with 22 tackles, 15 of which were solo hits while making three tackles behind the line for minus six yards) and 1.5 sacks for minus-11 yards. He also broke up a pass, while forcing and recovering a fumble. The Atlantic 10 Conference has sent multiple teams to the NCAA I-AA playoffs for 14 consecutive seasons, the longest active streak. Since the 2000 campaign, 10 of the 12 current members have advanced to the I-AA playoffs. For three straight years, an Atlantic 10 team has defeated an NCAA 1-A team from a BSC conference. Last year, New Hampshire defeated Rutgers 35-24 and Maine edged Mississippi State 10-9 as McCrosson recorded a tackle and broke up a pass. This year, Maine plays Nebraska, Villanova meets Rutgers, Richmond travels to Vanderbilt, William & Mary visits Marshall and UMass goes to West Point to clash with Army. On Sunday (August 14), Maine took part in its final practice before Monday's full scrimmage. The Black Bears ran a 25-30 play scrimmage in full pads at the end of practice in preparation for the team's first scrimmage of preseason camp at Alfond Stadium on the Orono campus. McCrosson had two quarterback hurries as he continues to impress the coaching staff after receiving the Thurlow Cooper Rookie-of-the-Year Award last season. A Business Management major, he is the son of Patrick and Catherine McCrossan.