October 18th, 2021 12:00am
When a game heads to overtime, one team will emerge with a smile while the other leaves with their head down. Pace needed two overtimes to defeat Franklin Pierce 39-31 last Saturday. But Franklin Pierce should not leave with their heads down.
The Ravens have played two straight overtime games and are showing that they are ready to be a spoiler in the NE10. Yes, they have nothing to show for it in the win column, but the team is young and still has plenty to prove.
We have seen this in the NE10 before. St. Anselm and Pace both endured long-losing streaks over the course of many years and then rebounded to be competitive in the league. They had games that they were close to winning and others that they were overmatched.
Franklin Pierce has brought in players this year that are ready to compete at the collegiate level. It shows on the field, and it is showing in the close games that they have played this year. They are ready week in and week out to compete and will have that elusive NE10 win very soon.
For the winners, it was all Carlton Aiken. The graduate student was not at 100% physically but willed his team to victory. He finished with 280 yards through the air and four touchdown passes. His fourth touchdown pass was a bullet to Brian Dolan for the game-winner in the second overtime that sent the homecoming crown home happy. He did throw a couple of picks but when the game was on the line, Aiken was cool and calm in the pocket.
Pace was where Franklin Pierce was a couple of years ago. They paid their dues, worked hard on the recruiting trail, and landed a talent like Aiken. He has helped to change the Pace football program and has led them to some of their best years. He is not having the 2021 season that he hoped but he shined for the home crowd in overtime last Saturday.
Pace hits the road this coming weekend at St. Anselm while Franklin Pierce is back home to play Southern Connecticut.
Bentley did their usual thing as they scored a couple of late touchdowns in the opening half en route to a 34-20 victory over Southern Connecticut. The Falcons have won 12 straight games dating back to 2019 and are in prime position to close out the season with another NE10 title.
Once again, Stephen Sturm proved why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He tossed four touchdown passes and ran for another one. He just runs the offense with ease and never seems to feel pressure when he has the football in his hands.
Nine different receivers caught passes from Sturm while seven different players were credited with a rush in the game. Bentley doesn’t have the biggest and fastest players in the league but they have the ones that are willing to make the big play when called upon.
And don’t forget about the Falcon defense. They make plays all game long and never let the opposing offense feel comfortable on the field. They swarm the ball, pressure the quarterback, and make plays in the secondary. It is the reason why they are 7-0 on the season, 5-0 in the league, and currently tied for first place in the NE10.
Bentley has the weekend off as they will focus on the final three weeks of the season. They will host Franklin Pierce in two weeks.
Next Man Up
Stonehill is quickly earning its reputation as a running back factory. With Justin Felder not in uniform last Saturday, you might have figured that the Skyhawks would change their game plan. But that is not the case.
Insert sophomore Jermaine Corbett and it was business as usual for the Stonehill. They defeated St. Anselm 31-22 to win their fifth game of the season and most importantly, they retained the Ol’ Bronze Hawk trophy for the 17th straight year.
Back to Corbett, he rushed for 254 yards and two scores. He was electric out of the backfield as he slashed through the St. Anselm defense. He had a long of 65 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per touch and helped to run out the clock late. He broke through the defense and stayed in bounds a couple of times to keep the clock running in the final minutes.
Stonehill looked like a different team in the second half. They entered the half down 15-10 and seemed to be struggling. But three straight touchdowns to open the quarter broke open the game and cemented another victory for the Skyhawks.
They will face New Haven next weekend at home in a battle of 5-1 teams. St. Anselm returns home and hosts Pace.
Second Half Success
It has been the same script for the New Haven Chargers in their first six games of the season. They hang around for the first 30-40 minutes of the game and then crank it up in the second half. This week’s victim was American International.
The Chargers scored 17 straight points in the second half to defeat the Yellow Jackets 30-14. It improves New Haven 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the NE10. They are outscoring their opponents over the final 30 minutes of the game and that is the biggest reason why they are undefeated in league play.
Trailing 14-13 in the third quarter, it was Connor Degenhardt to Dev Holmes for the long touchdown and they never looked back. Jake Conlan ran the ball into the end zone after a fumble recovery on the kickoff and the Chargers had a good bus ride home.
They finished the game with 575 yards of total offense, and it was pretty evenly split between their passing and running game. The Chargers have no problem moving the ball in between the 20-yard lines but were forced to settle for field goals in which a touchdown would have made the game one-sided earlier.
New Haven hits the road again next weekend in a huge matchup with Stonehill. American International will travel to Assumption.
Here we go
The fun part of the season starts this coming week. Teams that have a chance to win the league are starting to play each other and the next couple of weeks will help to determine the NE10 champ.
This weekend, it is 5-1 New Haven against 5-1 Stonehill. Both teams are in the running for the league title and one team will have an advantage with a victory. New Haven faces a tough three-week stretch as they play teams with their sites on the title. Assumption is the opponent on October 30th and then a potential game of the year with Bentley on November 6th.
But they need to focus on one week at a time. They have had success against Stonehill over the years and have played several memorable games on the road in N. Easton. You remember 2012 when a national television audience watched a 45-41 Charger victory. Or how about Stonehill returning the favor with a 21-17 victory in a featured broadcast.
These teams are evenly matched, and this game will have a playoff feel to it. The loser will face a major uphill battle to win the NE10 title in 2021.
Let the fun begin.