May 18, 2005
WORCESTER, Mass. - Senior tailback Gideon Akande (Chicago, Ill.), senior quarterback John O'Neil (White Plains, N.Y.) and senior tailback Steve Silva (East Providence, R.I.) will serve as the tri-captains of the 2005 Holy Cross football team, it was announced by head coach Tom Gilmore. Silva, who was also a co-captain during the 2004 campaign, becomes only the ninth player in school history to serve as a team captain for more than one season. Previous two-year captains were George Connor (1905-1906), Raymond Lynch (1916-1917), Thomas Lamb (1969-1970), Craig Cerratani (1977-1978), Ed Kutschke (1985-1986), John Aloisi (1998-1999), David Puloka (1999-2000) and Brian Hall (2001-2002).
Akande ranked second on the team with 324 rushing yards and 882 all-purpose yards last season, in addition to standing fourth in the Patriot League and 32nd in the nation with an average of 23.6 yards per kickoff return. During the 2002 season, Akande was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, after rushing for a Holy Cross freshman record 853 yards and five touchdowns on 177 carries. Entering the 2005 campaign, Akande has totaled 1,557 rushing yards during his collegiate career.
O'Neil will be in his third season as Holy Cross' starting quarterback this fall, after hitting on 193 of 356 attempts for 2,022 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2004. He ranked third in the Patriot League in passing yards and total offense last year, while standing sixth in pass efficiency. Over the course of his career with the Crusaders, O'Neil has now completed 409 of 731 attempts for 4,596 yards and 37 touchdowns, to rank fourth in school history in completions, attempts and touchdowns, and fifth in passing yards.
Silva was a first team All-America and second team All-Patriot League selection during the 2004 season, after leading the Crusader offense with 708 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 161 carries, in addition to catching a team-best 60 passes for 507 yards and another score. He became the first Holy Cross player since Gordie Lockbaum in 1986 to lead the team in both rushing yards and receptions. Over the course of his career as a Crusader, Silva has totaled 1,733 rushing yards on 426 carries, 100 reception for 826 yards, 23 total touchdowns and 3,019 all-purpose yards.
The Crusaders are scheduled to open the 2005 season when they play host to Sacred Heart in a 1:00 p.m. game on Saturday, September 3.