When two teams who rely on the run to move the ball meet, the typical outcome is a slugfest that might last over two hours if penalties and timeouts stretch it out. Rarely, however, does the outcome of Springfield College’s homecoming win over Merchant Marine come to pass.
The Pride (4-3, 2-2 Liberty League) returned home after two weeks on the road – both losses – to hand Merchant Marine (3-4, 1-3) a 66-13 loss and a quiet bus ride back to Kings Point. Freshman quarterback Jon Marrero led the way with 307 yards of total offense and seven total touchdowns without playing for almost the entire second half.
The Brighton, Mass. native was outstanding for Springfield, running coach Mike DeLong’s offense about as well as it can be run. Marerro racked up 144 yards and three scores on the ground and went six-of-eight for 163 yards and four touchdowns through the air, tying the school record for passing scores in a game.
“The last two games Jon has been under a lot of fire against some good teams, and he’s been maturing each game,” said DeLong. “Finally in this game he was getting some of the things he was missing in the previous games. He’s a tremendous athlete – he loves to compete – he can both run and throw and today you saw some of that maturity come through.
Marrero got it going with a 27-yard score on a keeper up the left sideline just 2:33 into the game and from the beginning of the drive you could tell the young man was feeling it. After a few back-and-forth drives, Marrero took to the air and found junior James Poggio in the end zone for a 14-yard score.
Poggio and fellow receiver Phil Baier have had their opportunities this season and the play of Marrero has opened the game up for them.
“Those guys are good receives, so it’s nice to get the ball up in the air and go get it,” said DeLong. “Coach [Mike] Cerasuolo does a great job of looking at what they give us and calling the plays.”
After the Mariners cut into the lead on a playaction pass that caught the secondary on their toes, Marrero made sure they would remember this day. The start of the second quarter marked the beginning of one of the most dominant periods of football imaginable and sealed the win for the Pride.
It started with a 24-yard scamper down the right sideline, followed by a 43-yard strike to Mike Davis out of the backfield, another 24-yard run, a 57-yard touchdown to Poggio and finally ended with a 36-yard touchdown pass by Baier. With 1:23 left in the half, Springfield led 49-7.
Marrero became the fourth player in SC history to throw four touchdowns in a game and the first since Kevin Cahill did it back in 2000.
What shouldn’t be overlooked in the flashy offensive numbers is the play of the defense. Facing the No. 9 rushing offense in the country, SC’s defense held the Mariners to just 40 yards on the ground.
The Pride return to action next week when the travel to St. Lawerence for another Liberty League throwdown.