NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Because Christopher Newport University head football coach Matt Kelchner roots for the Yankees, he's not a big fan of being compared to Red Sox star David Ortiz. But while Kelchner might not like "Big Papi", he's like "Big Papi".
Ortiz, who announced 2016 will be his final major league season, is enjoying one of the greatest farewell campaigns in MLB history. Like the Sox slugger, Kelchner, the only football coach in CNU history, announced 2016 will be his final season. And all his Captains have done in the first three games of Coach K's final year as bench boss is start 3-and-0 for just the second time in program history.
"This is his last year and this is most of the seniors last year," said CNU free safety Shomari Wright, a Heritage High School product. "I've been been with most of them since freshman year."
"I know [Coach Kelchner] doesn't want it to be about him, but in the back of my mind sometimes I'm out there like 'This one is for Coach K," explained Captains quarterback K.J. Kearney.
In his first year as a starter, Kearney has not only helped lead CNU to a 3-0 start, but the junior has won back to back New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. Last week's victory over then number 17 Wesley, vaulted the Captains into the D3football.com top 25 poll. CNU is ranked 24th in the country this week. However, it's not a nation Coach K's team is worried about - it's a state.
"We've never won a game in New Jersey," Kelchner noted. "This football program has never won up there, and we get to do that this Saturday."
"Every week there's been a "never", Kearney said smiling. "We've never won in New Jersey. We've never been 4-0 in school history. We can change all that this weekend."
Seeking the first 4-0 start in program history, CNU takes-on the College of New Jersey (0-2) at Noon Saturday in Ewing, N.J.