By Darin MacEacheron
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College football hosted the SUNY Maritime Privateers on Saturday at Stagg Field as part of the New England Bowl Series. Both teams entered the game with records of 7-3. It was quite an evenly matched battle as the Pride squeaked out with a 17-14 victory in a tightly contested matchup.
The Pride stuck to their roots on offense as usual rushing the ball 78 times for 327 yards. They won the possession battle by over 14 minutes and kept Maritime off the field. The run heavy offensive play style definitely plays a huge part in why the Pride held the ball so long but it was the defense once again who was the key factor in winning the game.
The Pride recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles and a whopping three interceptions. All three picks came by way of Jonny Bianchi, the senior strong safety out of Pittsfield, Mass. who had a historic afternoon becoming just the eight athlete in program history to record three interceptions in a single game for the Pride.
“It’s an honor to be only one of eight to do that,” said Bianchi. “This is such a storied program that has been here for 128 years and is still going strong.”
Bianchi’s first of three picks was the most impressive. Maritime quarterback Thomas Wright looked for receiver Brandon Drumgole on a quick slant. At first, it appeared that Maritime completed the pass but while going to the ground, Bianchi ripped the ball from Drumgole’s arms and the referees determined it was an interception.
Bianchi ended up having a pick in each of the first three quarters but like everyone on this team, gave credit to his teammates for his success.
“We knew what they had coming in and knew they would throw a lot,” stated Bianchi. “Our guys up front did an awesome job all day putting pressure on the quarterback which made it easier on the defensive backs. Coach Holik (defensive coordinator) always calls plays to put us in the best situation to thrive and he really helped me out today.”
This was Bianchi’s fifth season for the Pride and this was his final game for Springfield. He is one of many seniors who dressed up in maroon and white for the final time Saturday.
Head coach Mike Cerasuolo said, “We have a group of 26 seniors who are going to be graduating this upcoming spring and I could not be more proud of what they have done for this program. They were great role models for the youngers guys and we all appreciate their efforts.”
After the game, Cerasuolo and Holik were drenched in a water bath by some of the players and although Cerasuolo said he was freezing, he noted it was a great feeling.
During the trophy ceremony, Bianchi was named the Most Outstanding Player for his remarkable performance. He and the other 25 seniors walked off Stagg Field victorious knowing this would be the end of their journey for Springfield College Football.
Featured photo courtesy of Sam Leventhal