Men's Sports Sports

Late field goal lifts MIT over Springfield football, 43-40, on Senior Day

By Evan Wheaton

SPRINGFIELD – With just 33.8 seconds left in regulation, MIT broke their tie against Springfield as the ball narrowly passed over the crossbar. 

With the field goal, the Engineers defeated the Pride, 43-40 at Stagg on Saturday to repeat as the NEWMAC champions, earning an automatic bid to the Division III Football NCAA tournament.

MIT’s Chris Mauck went straight to work dissecting the Springfield defense. On their opening drive, the Engineers flew downfield in four plays. After Mauck threw a 24-yard pass to Eric Bradford, the Pride found themselves behind. 

With the strong start from MIT came an even stronger response from Springfield.

Following a toss on the outside from Chad Shade to Nick Rajotte for a 25-yard gain, Isiah Cashwell-Doe punched in a six-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game.

The Pride didn’t stop there.

On the first snap after the Engineers offense took the field again, they coughed up the ball. When the Pride recovered it, they gave up 15 yards on a penalty. Shade made up with this with a keeper to pick up a first down in the red zone.

The fumble recovery would be capitalized on with a six-yard connection between Shade and David Mikos beyond the plane, giving the Pride a 14-7 lead after the extra point.

“We came out, the kids were executing the plan and did a great job, and they did throughout the entire game,” Springfield coach Mike Cerasuolo said. “It came down to one or two plays, and obviously when you look back on things, you wish you made one or two more plays.”

It wasn’t just the offense and special teams that began clicking late in the first quarter for Springfield – the defense made a stand.

After MIT’s Dennis Gastel hauled in a bomb from Mauck to set the Engineers up at Springfield’s 16-yard line, the Pride held MIT to a 32-yard field goal.

After a toss to Ryan Deguire for a 32-yard rushing touchdown and a subsequent response from MIT, the Pride would close out the half with yet another passing touchdown, this time to Ian Porter.

For the triple-option package, it was an unusually strong air game for Shade, as he threw 4-for-7 with 82 yards and three touchdowns.

“They (MIT) were so aggressive defensively that we thought we had some things on it,” Cerasuolo said. “The one right before the half with Ian obviously was a fade ball by the pylon there and then a couple wheel balls there, and then the naked pass to Dave, it was great to see him get a catch.”

The Engineers came out of the half with a fumble recovery that carried over into the endzone for early points. Despite the hiccup, Springfield’s special teams continued to shine with a blocked punt that rolled into the endzone for a safety. This came shortly after banging a field goal from the 25-yard line for a 31-25 lead.

The Engineers then switched up their scheme, utilizing the wildcat formation that proved to be a dagger for Springfield.

“They had a three-play drive that we didn’t adjust to very well, so that hurt,” Cerasuolo said. “Then once we made an adjustment to it, they didn’t do much with it.”

Springfield would find more success running triple-option.

“Obviously our halfbacks make big plays out on the perimeter, so just getting the ball on the edge and getting the runs was a key for our scoring today,” Shade said.

After MIT caught up and made the game-winning field goal, it marked the end of the season, as well as the careers of 24 seniors on the team.

One of which was Shade, the dual-sport signal caller himself. While hugs and words of encouragement were exchanged under the setting sun, Shade reflected on his career at Springfield.

“I just want to start off by thanking every single person that’s come across my life,” Shade said with tears in his eyes. “I wouldn’t be here today without my family, my friends, just role models like these coaches and these guys on this team. I honestly think that in life you have defining moments, and I don’t think we’re defined by this loss.

“This team has overcome a lot of adversity throughout this whole year. No matter what, we still have all our brothers. Every single one of these guys is a guy I can go to, an SC guy, I think that’s what this is all about. This team is about much more than this game. Obviously this season didn’t finish the way we wanted, but I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else.” 

With the 129th season in the books for Springfield College football, the Brotherhood will look on to their next year with plenty of room to fill their roster.

Featured photo courtesy Jack Margaros

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