HCFB’s 5th Years Look Back On Their Time As Crusaders

Ben Lepper ’25

Sports Staff

For the past few seasons, the phrase “Crusader football” has been intertwined with a few names: Jake Reichwein, Liam Anderson, Dan Kuznetsov, and Peter Oliver. Having been here longer than most every other player, they naturally stepped up as leaders in the locker room, as well as on the Hill. So, obviously, campus feels just a little bit quieter with all of them having departed last fall. I figured it was time to give each of them a call.

To start, I am happy to report that all four of them are doing well. Jake is in graduate school at Villanova, Dan is studying to become a financial advisor, Liam is training down in Pittsburgh with other recent graduates, and Pete is still in the area, training at home. Dan was in especially high spirits, considering the recent success of his beloved Philadelphia Eagles. 

I kicked off the conversation by asking each of them what their favorite memory from their five-year careers here was. For Jake, it was a fairly recent one: playing UNH in the FCS playoffs. “I don’t think I have had more fun playing football”, he recalls. “It was pouring rain and freezing out, yet the Worcester community was supporting, energized as ever. It was especially special because we dominated playing our brand of football.” Liam also had a similar answer, choosing the playoff win against Sacred Heart as his favorite memory: “Having it at Fitton and winning our first ever playoff game… it’s definitely up there for me.”

For Dan, while every Patriot League championship was special, there was “something about the third one”. According to him, anyone can win one or two and have it be a fluke, “but that third one really cemented the start of a dynasty”. He also made sure to note the importance of winning that championship while at their biggest conference rival, Fordham. Pete, meanwhile, went with the 2021 Polar Park showdown versus Colgate: “I had that touchdown – first one ever scored at Polar Park, which was pretty cool. Up until that point, it was the best game of my career. It was a pretty magical experience.”

Next, I asked about their relationships with recently-extended head coach Bob Chesney. All four players made sure to emphasize their special bond with the coach, certainly in no small part to the fact that Chesney’s first year was their first year. “He’s super close with me and the rest of the fifth year guys at this point,” according to Liam. “We’ve been through a lot together.”

“He’s like your friend, but he’s in charge of what you’re doing,” said Dan. “You can joke around and mess around, but also you can compete in a very fun atmosphere”. Pete also had lots to say about their relationship: “He definitely pushes you when he knows you can do more. He knows how to win. He knows how to put the right people in the right places.” And, Jake summed up coach Chesney’s ethos in one sentence: “He’s a guy who will come visit you after a major surgery but will get on you for not having any juice.”

When I asked each guy what they were proud of, the answers varied. For Liam, it was the growth of the program during his time here: “My freshman year, we were not a very good team… I’ve been so proud of being part of the transformation. Talking to alumni, seeing how proud of us they are, and being a part of that has been super special to me.” Jake had a similar answer. “The difference is remarkable,” he said. “I’m really excited to see how the guys there now will take this thing to the next level.”

Dan reflected on his own personal growth: “I am not the kid that I was when I first walked into this place, and it’s 100% for the better. I’ve gotten to grow, make relationships, experience things, go through some pretty crazy things. I’ve developed characteristics that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.” And, for Pete, he was proud of the relationships he had built: “I kind of missed out on the smaller things that come up in life in high school. I made it a point to meet as many different people as I could from different backgrounds.” He also expressed pride in staying true to his roots, emphasizing his continuation of playing the violin, and is extremely grateful for the Spanish major, so he could have another language in his back pocket.

When I asked the guys about any regrets they may have, the consensus was that they didn’t have many. They all did what they could, improved through their mistakes, and left it all out on the field every day, and they were proud of that. However, Pete also disclosed a regret he had from his time here unrelated to football: “I wish I took more time to slow down. It’s difficult to not do that, but I’m proud that by the end of it, I was able to balance and spend more time with loved ones and friends, and less time worrying.” 

The last challenge I posed to the guys was one I came up with on a whim: to express their time here in one word or short phrase. For Dan, it was “culture change”, as he and the rest of the guys watched the program develop through their time here. For Liam, it was “paid off”, as all his hard work did in the end. For Pete, it was “balanced”, because he was proud of everything he learned inside and outside of the locker room. And, for Jake, it was “grit”, likely chosen because of his tenacity and passionate playstyle – a theme extremely common with Chesney’s Crusaders.   

We’re all going to miss these guys, but they’re always going to be a part of Sader Nation. They’ve left their mark on this program, and while it may be time for them to move on, I doubt this will be the last time we hear from them. After all, leaders like them never fade away. To Jake, Pete, Liam, and Dan; thank you for taking the time to talk to me, and all of us wish you the best of luck with whatever comes next.

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