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Eric Peterson, Published August 20 2013

Two fullbacks hope to fill big shoes at Concordia

Moorhead - Domenic Fraboni feels some people get the wrong impression when he tells them he plays fullback.

In many systems, that position’s main focus is to block and not get many touches. That is not the case in the Concordia offensive scheme.

“It’s not a boring fullback,” Fraboni said with a laugh. “We’re the main ball carrier for all the straight handoffs, and we really like to pound the ball up the middle. It’s exciting how much we get to carry the ball.”

Senior Luke Gotta and Fraboni, a junior, are the leading candidates to man that important spot in the Concordia triple-option attack this fall.

“I think we go as our QB and fullback go,” Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said Tuesday during the team’s media day.

Concordia has to replace fullback Brett Baune, who was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference most valuable player last season.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Baune rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in his final season. He ended his career with a school-record 34 TDs.

At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, Fraboni is in the Baune mold. Fraboni is a big power back and a strong blocker. The 6-2, 210-pound Gotta has a good initial burst and is also an adept pass catcher.

“(Fraboni) could play offensive line for us dang near,” Cobbers junior quarterback Griffin Neal said. “Luke is a downhill runner. He’s quick and shifty.”

Horan likes the depth and diversity his team has at fullback, despite losing a talent like Baune. Both Gotta and Fraboni have garnered playing time in the past two seasons.

However, Baune got the bulk of the carries in short-yardage situations last season.

“It’s going to be fun to see who they call on fourth-and-2 and fourth-and-1 and down on the goal line,” said Gotta, who is from Moorhead.

Gotta rushed for 182 yards and two TDs on 41 attempts last fall, while Fraboni ran for 48 yards on 12 carries.

One unit the Cobbers will need to solidify in fall camp is the offensive line. Concordia graduated all five starters off last year’s front, including offensive tackle Tom Knowlton, who was named the MIAC’s top lineman.

“The biggest challenge is a lot of us haven’t played with each other yet,” said Fraboni, who is from Princeton, Minn. “We have to start building that chemistry.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com