Stephen Gacioch led the Corsairs to an exciting overtime victory one year ago on this exact date. (PHOTO COURTESY: UMass Dartmouth Athletics)
By Matt Noonan
Yes, I miss New England D-III football, but luckily we have some great memories to revisit this fall, including an exciting overtime clash that occurred on this exact date one year ago between Husson University and UMass Dartmouth.
The Corsairs outlasted the Eagles, 48-41, in overtime, thanks to an impressive showing by quarterback Stephen Gacioch, who concluded the contest 26 of 42 for 512 yards and five touchdowns. The Rhode Island native also led the UMass Dartmouth rushing attack with 27 yards on 17 carries.
Husson led UMass Dartmouth, 21-14, after one quarter of play and held a seven-point advantage at the break (27-20).
The Corsairs erased the seven-point deficit in the third quarter with a pair of touchdown passes from Gacioch to DJ Machado and Pedro DelToro while Husson kept pace with the hosts by recording a 36-yard touchdown pass late in the frame from David Morrison to Tyler Halls.
UMass Dartmouth would push ahead late in the fourth quarter when Olawale Junaid capped a four-play, 36-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown before Husson countered to even the score and send the game into overtime when Morrison connected with Aidan Hogan for a seven-yard touchdown pass.
Gacioch and the Corsairs would again respond in the extra session when the UMass Dartmouth signal-caller located Abbi Bamgbose for a 23-yard score before the hometown team’s defense denied the Eagles a chance to even the score on its ensuing possession.
The win – certainly an exciting one for the Blue and Gold – bumped UMass Dartmouth’s overall record to 2-0 while the setback was the first of the season for the Eagles.
Gacicoch is currently second in Division III in passing yards and is tied for third in touchdown passes with Blaine Hawkins of Central College.
Noontime Sports recently spoke with Gacioch about his team’s impressive start, as well as what he and the team must do this week when they visit Framingham State on Saturday, October 5th.
Your team is off to a 4-0 start. Did you imagine your team would enjoy this much success when you all convened prior to your first game against Alfred State?
Prior to (facing) Alfred State (in week one), we had a feeling that things were different this year. There was a focus and intensity that was buzzing throughout camp, and every day we were making each other better. We knew if we played each game with high intensity, make no mental mistakes, and stayed disciplined that we had the talent to start the way we have (thus far).
From your perspective, what has made this offense click?
We’re a close-knit group. We have a lot of returners at the receiver position and we have four unselfish running backs that rotate and maintain fresh legs throughout the game.
Our offensive line has done a great job of being versatile and overcoming many different situations we’ve been in this year. We like to spread the ball around and give everyone their opportunities to make a play and we thrive off that as a group.
How has the defense, which has allowed just 18.0 points per game, helped the offense during practice?
Our defense does a great job. Playing against them in camp every day was the hardest challenge we’ve faced – the offense became much better because of (facing this unit every day).
Our scout guys right now are doing an amazing job giving us different looks at practice to prepare us every week for a new opponent.
How has your relationship with DJ Machado and Leroy Brown improved from last season to this season?
This year they both came to camp ready to play. They have instilled so much trust in me that there are times when I know pre-snap who the ball should go to based on matchups or defensive alignments.
DJ and Leroy have done an awesome job at winning their routes and I trust them to make the plays.
This week, your team faces Framingham State in an important conference contest. What must the offense do to be successful against the Rams defense?
As an offense, we must win the 12% rule, which is to now allow sacks, drops, turnovers or foolish penalties. And if we can execute the game plan then we’ll be successful.
Lastly, what do you enjoy most about playing on the road? Do you get a different adrenaline boost being away from your home stadium?
I personally like the feeling of having something to prove. Whenever we’re on the road there are people who doubt us and it gives a little extra adrenaline every-time we’re on the field.
With the second week of the 2019 New England Division III football season in the books, it is now to unveil our Zelos Athletics Team of the Week.
Similar to our ‘Players of the Week’ Zelos Athletics is also powering our teams of the week for the entire football season.
Offensive Team of the Week
Julian Burris (Dean College): Against Western Connecticut, Burris led all receivers with nine catches for 158 yards. He averaged 17.6 yards per reception.
Alec Coleman (Western New England): Coleman tuned in an impressive performance last Friday evening against Westfield State. The senior signal-caller completed 22 of 27 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns while adding 43 yards on eight carries (5.4 yards) and one score.
Ryan Deguire (Springfield College): Deguire helped the Pride score their first win of the season by capping an 18-play, 85-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown. Deguire concluded his team’s contest with a game and team-high 100 yards on 11 carries.
Matt Dunn (Norwich University): Dunn completed 34-of-49 pass attempts for 399 yards and two touchdowns as Norwich topped St. Lawrence University in Vermont.
Ollie Eberth (Amherst College): In his team’s season-opener against Bates College, Eberth accounted for 304 yards of total offense, including a team-high 68 rushing yards on 12 carries. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
Steven Fedorchak (Western New England): The junior wide receiver hauled in nine receptions for 319 yards and five touchdowns last Friday evening in Western New England’s big win over Westfield State.
Connor Fitzsimons (Fitchburg State): Fitzsimons helped the Falcons score their first win of the 2019 season by tossing the game-winning touchdown with five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The Fitchburg signal-caller concluded his team’s two-point win over Castleton University with 23 of 37 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
Ryan Gaboury (University of New England): Gaboury led the University of New England receiving core with nine catches for 138 yards and one touchdown.
Stephen Gacioch (UMass Dartmouth): For the second-straight week, Gacioch put up some impressive numbers as the Corsairs sailed past the Eagles in an instant thriller. The Corsairs’ signal-caller completed 26 of 42 passes for 512 yards and five touchdowns while adding 27 yards on 17 carries.
Tyler Halls (Husson University): Halls led the Eagles receiving core with 13 catches for 185 yards. He also caught one touchdown, too.
Aidan Hogan (Husson University): In his team’s first contest of the 2019 season, Hogan caught six passes for 105 yards and four touchdowns.
David James (Western Connecticut): James concluded last Saturday’s contest against Dean College with five touchdown passes, including four scores through the air. He completed 14 of 35 passes for 279 yards.
John Kenney (Endicott College): Kenney led the Gulls’ rushing attack with 191 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
Will Jernigan (Middlebury College): The Panthers’ signal-caller racked-up 252 yards of total offense, including a game and team-high 82 yards one 21 carries and one touchdown. Jernigan completed 16 of 33 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown as Middlebury topped Williams College in its season-opener.
Nick Juvelier (Curry College): Against Franklin Pierce, Juvelier accounted for 299 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. He completed 30 of 48 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns while adding 20 yards on nine carries.
Matt Long (Mass. Maritime Academy): Long enjoyed a successful start to his team’s 2019 campaign last Friday against Maritime (N.Y.). He rushed for 141 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns while adding 114 yards through the air (7 of 11 pass completions).
DJ Machado (UMass Dartmouth): Machado concluded last Saturday’s contest against Husson with six catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
Randy Morgan (Becker College): Morgan rushed for 105 yards on 22 carries for one touchdown as the Hawks scored its second-straight win of the 2019 season.
David Morrison (Husson University): Against UMass Dartmouth, Morrison completed 22 of 40 passes for 339 yards and five touchdowns.
Michael Pina (Nichols College): Pina completed 29 of 43 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s week two setback to Coast Guard Academy. He threw three touchdowns to three different receivers.
Ashton Scott (Wesleyan University): Scott recorded 293 yards of total offense, including a team-high 76 yards on 13 carries. He completed 18 of 30 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s season-opening win against Colby College.
Frank Stola (Williams College): Stola recorded a game-high six receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday in the Ephs’ season-opener against Middlebury.
Defensive Team of the Week
Luke Apuzzi (Williams College): Apuzzi turned in an impressive performance against Middlebury with 10 total tackles, including two forced fumbles, one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of seven yards and one sack for a loss of six yards.
Colin McCabe (Mass. Maritime Academy): McCabe posted 12 total tackles, including eight solo stops, three-and-a-half sacks for a loss of 15 yards and two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 14 yards and one fumble recovery in the Buccaneers’ season-opening win last Friday against Maritime (N.Y.).
Javien Delgado (UMass Dartmouth): Against Husson University, Delgado tallied a team-high 14 total tackles, including nine solo stops and three-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 10 yards.
Jack Fontana (Mass. Maritime Academy): Against Maritime (N.Y.), Fontana tallied a team-high 16 total tackles, including nine solo stops, three tackles for a loss of 12 yards, and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of nine yards. Fontana also recorded one pass break-up in his team’s initial win of the 2019 season.
Pete Huggins (Middlebury College): Huggins led the Panthers’ defense last Saturday against Williams with 13 total tackles, including five tackles for a loss of 16 yards and two sacks for a loss of 11 yards.
Carlos Riberio (Anna Maria College): Against Union College, Riberio led the AMCATs’ defense with 10 total tackles, including eight solo stops, along with one forced fumble and one pass break-up.
R.J. Robiskie (Coast Guard Academy): Robiskie led the Bears defense against Nichols College with 10 total tackles (two solo stops and one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of eight yards). Additionally, Robiskie registered one pass break-up and one quarterback hurry.
Tim Russell (Endicott College): Against Rochester last Saturday, Russell recorded a team-high 13 total tackles. He concluded the contest with four solo stops and, one-and-a-half tackles for a loss of five yards and half a sack for a loss of four yards.
Matt Schiano (Amherst College): Against Bates College last Saturday, Schiano stuffed the stat sheet with seven total tackles, including four solo stops, two tackles for a loss of three yards, one sack for a loss of one yard, one pass break-up and one interception (eight-yard return).
Keegan Stanton-Meas (University of New England): Stanton-Meas led the Nor’easters’ defense last Saturday with 13 total tackles, including nine solo stops. He also registered half a tackle for a loss of one yard, one pass break-up, and one interception.
Terrell Thomas (Maine Maritime Academy): Against Plymouth State, Thomas led the Mariners’ defense with 14 total tackles, including 12 solo stops. He also added one quarterback hurry.
Special Teams of the Week
Connor Kennelly (Amherst College): Kennelly connected on a trio of extra points and two field goals for nine points last Saturday against Bates.
George Lampros (Mass. Maritime Academy): Lampros tallied seven points last Friday evening on four extra points and one field (23-yards).
Kieran Lombard (Western New England): Lombard connected on all eight extra points last Friday in Western New England’s second win of the season.
Mason Von Jess (Wesleyan University): Against Colby, Von Jess recorded 12 points on three extra points and three field goals, while tallying 420 yards on seven kickoffs. Five of his seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
Bryce Wade (WPI): Wade connected on a pair of field goals last Saturday, including a 26-yard boot, which helped WPI edge RPI, 6-3. Wade also recorded nine punts for 300 yards with three kicks landing inside the RPI 20-yard line. He also registered a trio of kickoffs for 170 yards with one touchback.