The Salisbury University football team has advanced to the Division III national playoffs and several players from Columbia have contributed to that success.
Nick Aloi, a junior from Atholton High School and a resident of Columbia, had two carries for 36 yards and also made a tackle on Saturday as the Sea Gulls beat Frostburg State University, 49-7, in the regular-season finale.
"He plays quite a lot, though his carries don't reflect that," Ryan Fletwood, the offensive coordinator and director of football operations at Salisbury, told Patch on Tuesday.
Salisbury was 9-1 overall and 7-0 in league play in the regular season and will host Western New England on Saturday at noon in the first round of the national tourney.
The team scored at least 40 points in seven games and went over 60 points three times this season under head coach Sherman Wood. Salisbury is ranked No. 10 in the nation and won the conference title for the first time since 2005.
Matthew Banta, a sophomore linebacker from Marriotts Ridge, had two tackles in the win over Frostburg. He has been a reserve player in 10 games and has 12 tackles.
Juma Richards, from Wilde Lake, is a junior wide receiver who has played in 10 games, with nine starts. He has two carries for 69 yards and has 13 catches, which ranks second on the team.
"He gives us a dimension that we need to have," Fletwood said of the play action approach for a team that does not throw often. "We run the football and feel we are successful with it. We have guys who have a lot of speed."
Salisbury freshman defensive back Ryan Raines, from Atholton, has played in one game with one tackle.
Teka Hayes, a freshman defensive lineman, has one tackle this year in one game. He is from Wilde Lake. Other players on the team are Andy Bushong (Reservoir), Ryan Raines (Atholton) and Connor McNeil (Marriotts Ridge).