Athlete of the Week: Mike Kalanik

By GREGORY MELICK | September 20, 2018

B11_Kalanik
HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Junior defensive end Mike Kalanik.

 

On Saturday, the Hopkins football team traveled to Bethlehem, Pa. to take on Centennial Conference opponent Moravian College. The Jays looked to rebound from the previous week’s heartbreaking last-second loss in their Conference opener against Susquehanna University.

The Blue Jays bounced back in a commanding way this weekend, winning 47-3. 

The offense was powered by 680 yards of offense, 428 through the air and 252 on the ground. This was the first game in Hopkins history where the team had 400 passing yards and 250 rushing yards.

While the Blue Jay offense was extremely successful, the defense also shut down the Moravian offense, holding them to only 216 total yards. 

Moravian had 14 third-down opportunities and was only able to convert two of those opportunities.

Leading the defensive charge was junior defensive end and captain Mike Kalanik, who led the team in tackles with seven and tackles for loss with three and tied for the lead with one sack. 

Last year, Kalanik played in 11 games and led the team in sacks with 9.5, as well as tackles for a loss with 21. He was fifth on the team in total tackles with 52 and won Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week after the matchup with Susquehanna.

At the end of the season, Kalanik was named to the first team All-Centennial Conference team, and D3football.com selected him for the All-South Region second team.

So far this year, he is again leading the team in tackles for a loss and is tied for the team lead in sacks through three games. 

After his recent stellar performance, Kalanik answered some questions about the week leading up to this game and team’s goals going forward.

The News-Letter: Has falling in the Top 25 rankings affected the team’s attitude?

Mike Kalanik: I don’t think so. No one really mentioned it, and honestly I don’t think many people knew we dropped out.

N-L: Coming off the loss last week, how motivated was the team going into this game against Moravian? What was the week of practice like?

MK: I think we were very motivated to get back on track. We had a lot of intensity and energy in practice, which we need to keep going this week and all the weeks that follow.

N-L: What were the biggest adjustments both you personally and the team as a whole made from last week to this week?

MK: I think as a team, we just eliminated some of the dumb mistakes that we made last week. Personally, [I] just focused on my assignments and having some fun while playing.

N-L: What allowed you to have so much success against Moravian?

MK: Everyone completed their assignments, and it really showed what happens when the whole team is locked in and doing their jobs. The coaches put together a really strong game plan for us, and we were able to get it done in all three phases of the game.

N-L: Going forward, what will be the biggest thing the team has to work on to continue this momentum?

MK: I think it’ll be important to keep practices at a high level. When we have a great week of practice, it usually carries over to people playing well in the game.

N-L: How did this big win affect the team’s attitude?

MK: I think people are glad to be back on track to where we want to be, but mostly, we’re focused on the next one. It’s good to enjoy the win for a day or two, but then it’s time to focus on the next opponent.

N-L: What will be the biggest keys against Dickinson College next week?

MK: We know they have a really strong defense, so we’ll have to game plan for that. Defensively, we need to shut down their run game.

N-L: What are your personal goals for the rest of the year, and what are the team’s goals?

MK: Team goals for the year are to win out and win another Conference Championship. That’s our main focus, but after that it would be a national title. Personally, I’m looking to improve upon what I accomplished last year. As long as I’m playing at a high level and helping the team, stats aren’t as important to me.

Kalanik and the Jays will look to pick up where they left off this past weekend with their first home Conference matchup. They will face Dickinson on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Homewood Field.

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