John Smith and the Husson Eagles defeated Springfield in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. (PHOTO CREDIT: Monty Rand Photography/Husson University Athletics)
By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)
John Smith rushed for a game-high 164 yards on 43 carries (3.8 yards per carry) and two scores as Husson stunned Springfield, 23-21, in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Stagg Field.
Smith reached the end zone twice – once in the second quarter and once in the third – while quarterback Cory Brandon got the visitors on the board with a second quarter touchdown strike to Kyle Gaudet (36-yard reception).
Husson led Springfield, 14-6, at the break, and 20-14 after three quarters of play before Devin Pickett extended the visitors’ advantage to 23-14 with a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Springfield trimmed the deficit with a Hunter Belzo 52-yard touchdown run to pull within two-points (23-21), but that would be the closest the Pride would get to the Eagles.
Brandon completed the contest with 209 yards and one touchdown pass, connecting on 20 of 30 passes, while Kyree Calli led all receivers with 64 yards on seven reception.
Husson’s defense limited the top-ranked rushing offense to just 264 yards. Belzo paced the Pride’s rushing attack by tallying 113 yards on nine carries, while Jordan Wilcox rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries and two scores.
The win extends the Eagles’ campaign to next weekend where they’ll face Delaware Valley in the second round, while Springfield concludes a historic season at 10-1 overall.
Husson, which captured the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown this fall, will face Delaware Valley next weekend in the second round of the tournament. The Aggies secured a date with the Eagles by defeating Western New England, 35-0.
Saturday’s win marked the first time an ECFC team has won a postseason contest.
Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0: Sammy Mohr clinched an opening round win for the Aggies with a 100-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the final session as DelVal earned its 11th consecutive win of the season. Aaron Nelson led DelVal and all receivers with 121 yards on two receptions and one score, while WNE’s Dante Aiken rushed for a game-high 98 yards on 21 carries. WNE concludes its season at 8-3 – the Golden Bears captured the first-ever Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown a few weeks ago when they defeated Curry College, 42-28.
Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0: Joe Germinerio accounted for four touchdowns, including three through the air, as the Golden Eagles soared past the ‘Mountain Men’ of Plymouth State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Germinerio completed 19 of 27 passes for 316 yards, while Tyree Brown rushed for a game-high 156 yards on eight carries and one score. The Panthers conclude their season with a 9-2 overall record – Plymouth State also captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown this year, too.
Framingham State 48, Curry 14: Adam Wojenski tossed five touchdowns, while completing 19 of 28 passes for 246 yards as the Rams won their second New England Bowl at Bowditch Field in Framingham. Quron Wright led all rushers with 60 yards on 16 carries, while Curry’s Nick Villanueva hauled in a game-high 92 yards on four receptions. Framingham State’s Joshua Onujiogu led all defenders with a pair of sacks for 13 yards, while concluding the game with a pass break-up and four total tackles, including a trio of solo stops. The Rams conclude their season with a 10-1 overall ledger, while Curry finished 8-3.
WPI 17, SUNY Maritime 3: Sean McAllen and Lain Zembekeach rushed for one touchdown, while Spencer Herrington booted a 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter, which helped WPI defeat SUNY Maritime, 17-3, in the New England Bowl on Saturday evening at Alumni Stadium in Worcester. SUNY Maritime’s Matthew Murphy trimmed the deficit mid-way through the fourth with a field goal, but that was the closest the Privateers would get to the Engineers. WPI concludes its season on a seven-game winning streak, while matching the 1992 team for nine wins, which is the most victories recorded by any Engineers squad in a single-season. SUNY Maritime ends its season with a 9-2 overall ledger, too.