By Eric Belyea
WORCESTER — The Springfield College football team traveled to Worcester Saturday afternoon to open their NEWMAC conference play against in-state rival WPI.
The Engineers struck first in the first quarter as Lain Zembek ran one in to give WPI the early 7-0 lead. Springfield’s offense was short two quarterbacks this week, as both starter Chad Shade and backup David Wells were sidelined due to injury, forcing junior running back Hunter Belzo to start under center. Belzo and the offense answered at the end of the first quarter with a 75-yard touchdown run, evening the score at seven apiece.
The Pride’s defense battled all game. Led by senior Nick Giorgio, who finished with a team-high seven solo tackles. Both defenses did not budge after the two first quarter scores, as both teams headed to the locker-room deadlocked at seven.
Springfield started with the ball in the second half. The offense was able to put a nine-play, five-minute drive together, putting kicker Christian Humulock in range to knock down a 28-yard field goal, giving Springfield a 10-7 lead early in the second half.
After an empty possession to start the final quarter for Springfield, the Engineers took over looking to regain the lead. WPI’s quarterback Julian Nyland connected on the first play of the drive with Nic Rossi on a 68-yard catch and run for a score just five minutes into the fourth quarter. After the extra point by Spencer Herrington, Springfield found themselves trailing WPI by the score of 14-10 with half the quarter remaining.
But Team 128’s offense did not back down. Belzo found himself trailing by four late in the fourth quarter with the ball in his hands. He led the offense down the field on a 35-yard drive, punching it in himself from one yard out, giving the Pride a 17-14 lead.
The defense stayed strong for the duration of the game, and did not budge when facing the Engineers late game drive, holding them to no scores the rest of the game.
Belzo led the team in rushing yards, with a game-high 113 yards. Jared Baron and Tim Callahan both contributed to the rushing game with over 40 rushing yards each.
The Pride continue their NEWMAC Conference play next Saturday as they travel to Vermont and take on Norwich University, with kickoff scheduled for 1PM.
Featured photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal