October 31st, 2022 5:00am
It was a great weekend of football in the league.
Senior Day Success
The current senior class for Assumption has accomplished a lot of things in their time on campus except for one thing. And that was taken care of this past Saturday.
The Greyhounds defeated New Haven 14-13 for the first time since 2017, making it a pretty good Senior Day for the graduating class. It was once again the defense that won the game for Assumption.
They shut out the Chargers in the second half as they allowed no openings for the high-powered offense to operate. The victory also ended a 16-game winning streak in the NE10 for New Haven who had not lost since October 2019 in the league.
“We compete against our defense every day in practice so I know how frustrating that they can be,” Assumption coach Andy McKenzie said. “They take the space away from the other team really fast. The big part of our defense is that they believe in each other, and they trust that the other guy is going to do their job well.”
Assumption took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards downfield. Jake Cady found Quinn Sieger on a slant route for a 23-yard touchdown to get on the scoreboard first.
New Haven answered quickly as Connor Degenhardt connected with Dev Holmes on a beautiful touchdown in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at seven. Degenhardt found Holmes again for a score in the opposite end zone to take a 13-7 lead. The Chargers missed the point after and that would come back to sting them later.
A short field for Assumption later in the second quarter was capped off by a Berrell Neal touchdown run to grab the lead for good.
The second half featured defense and one long drive by the Chargers for a chance to grab the lead. They had the ball inside the 10-yard line but missed a short field goal that could have given them the lead.
“We played hard but we didn’t play very well, “New Haven coach Chris Pincince said. “Defensively, I thought that we played excellent. They did an excellent job against a great running team. Offensively, we clearly didn’t do our jobs. We left four points on the field. We left four to five to six balls on our fingertips out there in the second half.”
It seemed like McKenzie knew the type of game that he was going to be facing as it has been a typical type of Greyhound game for the past nine weeks.
“We expected to come in and play well today,” McKenzie said. “We talked about a low-scoring game in our team meetings and if we could reduce our turnovers, we could win the game.”
A major difference maker in the game was Assumption punter Gabe Bertolazzo. He helped to pin New Haven deep a couple of times and flipped the field with 42.6 yards per punt average.
“He showed up today,” McKenzie said of his sophomore punter. “He has had some ups and downs this year over the course of the season. But give him a ton of credit for rising to the occasion.”
As mentioned earlier, It was Senior Day for the Greyhounds as they recognized 27 players before the game. The players didn’t want to leave the field as it was their final regular season game on the turf at Brian Kelly Stadium.
“I am really proud of them,” McKenzie said of his seniors. “We work really hard together for four, sometimes five years together and we all have a certain goal in mind. We want to make sure that you end your last opportunity at home and leave this field with no regrets.”
With the win, Assumption has the top spot in the NE10. They are 5-1 in the league as New Haven and Bentley are both 4-1 in the league. If all three teams win over the final weeks of the season, it will be a three-way tie for the title. All of the tiebreakers will not break the tie and the three teams will share the title.
Assumption will finish its NE10 schedule this weekend on the road at Saint Anselm.
In looking at the final stats, the winning team had just three more yards, more punts, and more penalties in the game. It should have been a closer game, but Franklin Pierce won going away by the score of 42-19.
The difference in the game was seven interceptions by the Raven defense. It set up short fields for their offense and they even took one back to the house to get on the scoreboard themselves.
It is the second win of the season for Franklin Pierce as they set a program record for wins as well as setting a record for points in a game.
Post scored first in the game, but the Ravens answered with 28 consecutive points and 42 of the final 54 points in the game. Bryce Macina was very effective at his quarterback position by going 11 for 17 for 136 yards and two scores.
Christian Keeling had two scores and was the leading rusher for Franklin Pierce. But it was the defense that made the difference in the game.
Jaden Clark had two interceptions in the game including a 27-yard pick-six. Five other players had interceptions to set up those short fields for the offense. In all, Post completed 15 passes in the game but threw those seven interceptions. 33% of the passes thrown by Post ended up in the hands of Franklin Pierce.
It was also the second straight week that a Raven defender had a pick-six. Tyvarius Daniels had the honor the previous week against Pace.
The Ravens will finish up their season next weekend when they travel to New Haven.
He will go down as one of the top players in Pace football history. But he needed a little help from his friends last Saturday.
Pace defeated Saint Anselm 17-14 last Saturday to win their sixth game of the season. Carlton Aiken, Jr didn’t have his best game, but it was his defense that put the victory in the win column.
Nasier Givens was the defensive anchor for the Setters. He finished the game with 10 tackles, eight of the solo variety. He was also credited with three tackles for a loss and two of those were sacks. He also had a pass breakup as he was a thorn in the side of the Saint Anselm offense all afternoon.
The Pace defense allowed just 254 yards in the game. They were able to stop the Hawks’ rushing attack and hold their passing game in check. Despite a couple of scores, the defense controlled the flow of the game.
Pace now has six victories on the season. It is the third time under coach Andy Rondeau that they have reached this mark. This is one of the better stretches of football for the Pace program as they have become a factor in the NE10 after being at the bottom for so many years.
The Setters have a bye next week before they host Bentley to close out the regular season on November 12th.
The Southern Connecticut and American International matchup always seems to have title implications for the winner. But with the recent struggles of both programs, it is a game that someone had to win.
But after a 23-22 overtime thriller last Saturday, it might go down as one of the better games in the history of the rivalry. It was Southern Connecticut that left the field with a victory and bragging rights for another year.
It was a back-and-forth game for both teams. One team would score and the other would answer. One team would score a touchdown and the other would block the point after and take it back for two points.
The game was tied at 16 at the end of regulation. The Owls had the ball first and it took them five plays to score a touchdown. Marc Reali called his own number and scampered five yards for the score in overtime. Southern Connecticut took the lead, 23-16.
American International had their chance to tie the game. It took them just four plays, capped off by a Brandon Robinson to Deven Arthur touchdown pass. But the Yellow Jackets were not able to convert the point after and Southern Connecticut walked away with the win.
It is just the second victory of the season for Southern Connecticut and their second win in three weeks. For American International, the frustrating season continues as they are still looking for their first victory of the season.
Southern Connecticut steps out of NE10 play next weekend when they host Post. American International will travel to Bentley in search of that first victory.
We have discussed this a lot over the past couple of years, but this past weekend really shows how close this league has become. Three league games were decided by a grand total of five points. Two of the games were single-point affairs as the difference between winning and losing is very close.
Two missed extra points over the weekend was the difference for losing teams. That is how close teams are now.
And look at the top of the standings. Three teams tied with one loss each in the league and those teams are all 1-1 against each other. All of those games have been hard-fought battles that either team could have walked away with a victory. It has been that close.
This league has come a long way from the 55-7 games in the 2000s to the 14-13 and 23-22 thrillers of this past weekend. There are no more weekends off when you play a team. If the team is under .500, they can knock off their opponent. No more gimmes in the NE10.
That means the league is improving and that comes directly from the coaches. They are recruiting quality players from around the country to play here. We all see it week in and week out. If one coach is recruiting, that gives another coach the incentive to recruit harder and find more talent to compete.
Two weeks to go and plenty of uncertainty to play out.
The first regional rankings were released last week, and they featured three teams from the NE10. The teams were released in alphabetical order for the top ten.
For the NE10, they featured two of the top three teams alphabetically. Of course, that means absolutely nothing as the final two weeks of the rankings will be ranked from one to ten based on the criteria.
The NE10 could have three teams in the top ten again this week. Assumption, Bentley, and New Haven all have identical 6-2 overall records, but Assumption is 6-1 for the rankings. Their loss to Division I Merrimack doesn’t count in the playoff rankings.
The Greyhounds could be in the top four with that 6-1 record. They have defeated Kutztown and New Haven and have an impressive resume right now. If they win out over Saint Anselm and Post, they should host their first playoff game in Worcester since 2017.
Bentley and New Haven might be on the outskirts of the top seven but are still in the playoff hunt. They both have two losses and might need some help to make the playoffs. Both have tough losses out of conference that will hurt their chances. Bentley lost by a single point to West Chester while New Haven fell late at Bowie State.
The region has a clear top team, Shepherd. They are undefeated and have easily handled all opponents this year. They face East Stroudsburg before a potential date in the PSAC title game.
Just like the NE10, the PSAC West has three teams tied at 5-1 in the league and one of those will get a shot at the PSAC title game. IUP lost for the first time to Gannon this past weekend and helped cause the logjam at the top.
Slippery Rock is also part of the logjam in the PSAC West. Gannon has the toughest game this coming weekend as they travel to California. The Rock will play Edinboro while IUP hosts Clarion.
In the PSAC East, Kutztown is still in the playoff picture. They are 7-2 with their two losses coming to Assumption and Shepherd. They have a tough final two weekends as they play West Chester and Slippery Rock if they are not in the PSAC title game.
Ashland also lost for the first time this past weekend as they fell to Hillsdale this past weekend. It was a major upset as the Eagles were in control of their destiny as they were playing some of the teams at the back end of the GMAC standings. They have Lake Erie this weekend before closing out the regular season with Kentucky Wesleyan.
For the Mountain East, two teams were in consideration and both teams should be in the top ten. Notre Dame College defeated Fairmont State and faces a challenge this weekend with UNC Pembroke. They close out the season against winless Alderson Broaddus.
Concord took care of business by beating Wheeling and knocking them out of playoff contention. They have a similar schedule to Notre Dame College but reversed. They host Alderson Broaddus before traveling to UNC Pembroke. The odd part of the Mountain East schedule in 2022 is that Concord and Notre Dame College don’t face each other.
There is one undefeated team, four with one loss, and a whole bunch of teams with two losses. It is simple for the teams with two losses. A third loss will knock them out of contention for the playoffs.
Could the same ten teams be in the rankings this week? Will Gannon be added to the top ten and push someone out? We will see where everyone is ranked. The interesting part will be the teams with two losses and how they are ranked.
As always, win games on the field, and don’t let the committee control your fate.