When it rains, it pours. And as rain clouds threatened above Stagg Field on Saturday afternoon, the bad times kept rolling for the Springfield College football team. Facing fifth-ranked Hobart, the Pride lost their third straight contest 49-21, dropping their record to 3-3 and 0-3 in the conference.
Unable to get off the field defensively, the Pride couldn’t force any punts in the first half, as Hobart scored on all four of their first half possessions, taking a 28-7 lead at the break.
The Pride, who have been plagued by the turnover bug all season, once again coughed the ball up, fumbling the ball four times, losing three of them, including a costly first half turnover in the redzone, when the Pride trailed 21-0.
Louis Fenaroli led the Pride with 70 yards rushing on 18 carries while Tim O’Brien ran for 48 yards and a touchdown while throwing for a second score, filling in for John Marrero, who left with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
“I thought our kids played hard,” said head coach Mike DeLong, whose Pride team falls to 3-3 for the second consecutive season. “Hobart is an outstanding team. They were better than we were and it showed certainly today.”
The Pride fell down early after Hobart’s defense came up with a three and out on the first possession. Hobart followed by going on a 12 play, 80-yard drive, capped by a five-yard pass from Patrick Conlan for Nick Liverio.
On the following possession, Hobart’s suffocating defense pounced again, forcing the Pride to punt from their own 31. On the punt attempt, the Hobart defense blocked the punt and recovered the ball at the 20-yard line of the Pride.
After a delay of game put the ball on the 25, Stephen Webb, who rushed for 204 yards and three scores on the game, took off for six, extending the lead to 14.
A third straight defensive hold, resulting in negative 16 yards in three plays, forced the Pride to punt again, giving the Statesman possession on the Pride side of the 50.
It took the Statesman seven plays to go 45 yards to pay dirt, punctuated by a 21-yard touchdown carry from Webb.
Springfield mounted a serious drive on the next possession, using an 18-yard carry from Fenaroli and a 12-yard rush from Marrero to put the ball on the Hobart 16, only to cough up the ball on an option play.
Hobart took off on a nine play, 84-yard drive, lasting just under three minutes to extend the lead to 28.
Springfield followed with a long drive of their own, marching 68 yards in 6:46, using 16 plays to cut the lead to three scores. Using only one carry of more than 10 yards on the drive, the Pride broke their goose egg with a 1-yard touchdown run from Fenaroli.
Hobart continued their offensive display in the second half, scoring on the first play of the half when Webb took off for 61 yards, juking out defenders and stiff-arming his way into the end zone, effectively putting the game away.
“Obviously, we have to see what we have,” DeLong said. “We’ll look at it. We’re not going to do any drastic changes – just take a look. Who’s playing where, who’s doing what.”
The Pride, who are already missing captain Brody Quinn and just got Jason Woods and Fenaroli back from injury, lost Marrero to a right ankle injury late in the third quarter. While rolling right, Marrero cut back across the field trying to escape the pressure, only to be tackled and have his ankle rolled up on.
“John’s hurt, so we have to see how badly hurt he is,” DeLong said. “As always we look at personnel and who played well and who did what…Brody, we think we might get [him] back next week. Woods played some today but he wasn’t up to speed. We might get a couple of them back…It might help our backfield get back to where we can do some things with Joel right now.”
Marrero was walking and lightly jogging on the sideline after leaving the game, but did need help leaving the field and was favoring his ankle.