Tag Archives: Evan Graham

Mass. College Football: Camping With American International College (AIC) Football

By Matt Noonan

American International College (AIC) enters the 2015 season projected to be the runner-up in the Northeast-10 Conference, but that prediction isn’t what head coach Art Wilkins is focused on at this time.

AIC Football commences its season on Saturday, September 5 with a non-conference game against Bryant University (Photo Credit: SportsLogos.net)

AIC Football commences its season on Saturday, September 5 with a non-conference game against Bryant University (Photo Credit: SportsLogos.net)

Instead, the legendary head coach, who enters his 21st season with AIC, is focused on preparing the Yellow Jackets for its week one opponent: Bryant University.

“I think Mr. (Bill) Belichick has the right approach (to a new season),” said Wilkins, “one game at a time.”

AIC will travel to Rhode Island this Saturday (Sept. 5) to face a Bulldogs squad that was picked to capture the Northeast Conference. Bryant garnered four first-place votes and is coming off an impressive campaign that included eight victories, which tied a program record for wins.

“(We have) a one game season right now and after (we play Bryant) there will be another one (game season), but it is a one game season,” said Wilkins.

Quarterback Kevin Arduino has graduated after a very impressive four-year career, but is expected to assist the team as an assistant coach.

“You (can) never replace a great player (like Kevin), but we’re doing the second best thing. Since he can’t play anymore, we’re going to let him coach and see if some of the magic dust (helps),” said Wilkins.

The Yellow Jackets have five quarterbacks on its roster, including sophomore Shawn Brathwaite, who completed four passes last season and tossed a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards and one score.

Another quarterback to keep an eye on is senior Adam Salvador, who competed in nine games last season, but did not register a single pass. Instead, the senior signal caller rushed for 137 yards on 43 attempts and averaged 15.2 yards per game.

At tailback, expect the Yellow Jackets to rotate five or six players, including junior Marcel DePina, who hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts. DePina registered one touchdown last season on 19 carries, while rushing for 133 yards. He also returned a pair of punts for 34 yards.

“DePina has looked great,” said Wilkins. “I think he is going to be an exceptional player. He is the one we’re counting on right now (at halfback).”

Similar to tailback, the wide receiving core will rely on five or six players to assist the offense. Junior Evan Graham – a Springfield, Massachusetts native – is back after finishing second on the team in receptions (41). Graham, who competed in 11 games, was second on the team in touchdowns (five) and receiving yards (655).

“We think (our receiving core) is the best position on offense right, so we’ll see how it comes together during the first several games,” Wilkins said. “This is an exciting bunch.”

On defense, the Yellow Jackets will count on senior linebacker Demetrius Steed – a Boston native that competed for Bedford High School. Steed ranked third on the team in total tackles (72), but recorded 38 solo stops, four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and a trio of pass-breakups.

“He’s the guy that leads by example and has a high energy level and (can) translate that to his teammates,” said Wilkins. “He is everything you could want.”

AIC also returns seniors Andrew Justice (defensive end), Danny Omoregie (defensive line) and Daquan Holmes (defensive back). Sophomore Rob Hansen returns after leading all freshmen defenders with five total tackles and three solo stops.

Following the Yellow Jackets’ season-opener against the Bulldogs, AIC will commence conference play with a home contest against Southern Connecticut University on Saturday, September 12. The Yellow Jackets will then travel to University of New Haven on Saturday, September 19 before concluding the first month of play with a 1:00 p.m. kick-off against Saint Anselm College at home.

AIC and LIU Post, which competed in the conference’s championship last season, will meet in Springfield on Saturday, October 3 for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off. LIU Post was picked to capture the NE-10 crown for the second consecutive season.

Mass. College Football: AIC 42, Bentley 14

AIC's Kevin Arduino accounted for five touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets defeated Bentley on Saturday afternoon. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth for NoontimeSports.com)

AIC’s Kevin Arduino accounted for five touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets defeated Bentley on Saturday afternoon. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth for NoontimeSports.com)

By Brian Willwerth 

WALTHAM, MA – This game turned into the Kevin Arduino show.

The junior quarterback for American International College ran for four touchdowns, and threw for another, as the Yellow Jackets defeated Bentley on Saturday afternoon, 42-14. With Stonehill beating New Haven, AIC moved into a three-way tie atop the Northeast-10 Conference.

AIC scored first, and would never trail. After the Yellow Jackets recovered a Bentley fumble, they drove 41-yards in seven plays. Hunter Beckmann scored from eight yards out to make it 7-0. That was the only AIC score in which Arduino was not involved.

Later in the quarter, Arduino’s first score, a one-yard run on a quarterback sneak, capped a 90-yard drive and made it 14-0. It stayed that way until the final minute of the half, when Bentley quarterback Danny Guadagnoli scored on a quarterback sneak of his own to put the Falcons on the board.

In the third quarter, Arduino provided the highlight reel play of the game. AIC had the ball on the Bentley 30. It looked like he would get sacked, but he broke a tackle, then another, and another. A few seconds later, he was running into the end zone to make it 21-7.

The Falcons answered with a 71-yard drive, capped off by Jeff Hill’s leaping grab in the back of the end zone to cut the lead to seven. That would be the last time Bentley would score on the afternoon.

From there, the Yellow Jackets broke the game wide open. Arduino scored his third rushing score of the game, this time from seven yards out, to put AIC back up by 14.

After another Bentley fumble, Arduino connected with Evan Graham on a 48-yard strike, with Graham making a superb diving catch in the end zone. Then in the fourth quarter, Arduino’s fourth touchdown on the ground, a two-yard run, accounted for the final score.

AIC came into the day leading the conference in rushing yards. The Yellow Jackets had 261 on the ground in this game, 129 of them from Arduino. He also threw for 222 yards. For Bentley, Guadagnoli was 22-of-36 for 279 yards. Hill had a nice game with nine catches for 124 yards.

Next Saturday, AIC hosts Saint Anselm, while Bentley travels to Merrimack.