By Darin MacEacheron
SPRINGFIELD — On Saturday, October 13, The Springfield College football team hosted Merchant Marine in a very meaningful game. It was Homecoming this past weekend and Springfield Alumni were in attendance along with many friends and family who filled the stands for the Pride’s conference matchup.
This was also the Pride’s cancer awareness game. Usually, just maroon and white is seen on the Springfield sideline but on this day, many players wore red for cancer awareness. The Pride had more to play for during this game. Granted getting a win against a conference game during a pivotal point of the season was key for this team, but for Marlowe Scott, this was more than a football game.
The senior captain unfortunately lost his mother Clarice Scott earlier this year to her battle with cancer and this game was in her memory.
Scott is a defensive back and the entire defense knew what they were playing for. A.J. Smith added another 13 tackles to his solid campaign. Defensive linemen Chaz Ruffin and Nick Giorgio both had outstanding games. Ruffin had 11 tackles and a sack and Giorgio added 8 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Overall, the Pride recorded 7 sacks and recovered two fumbles and the defense only surrendered 17 points on the afternoon.
The offensive side of the ball was a different story. Springfield consistently ran the ball throughout the day but Merchant Marine kept finding ways to plug the holes. The Pride rushed the ball 55 times for 199 yards lead by Tim Callahan’s 86 yards and touchdowns by Hunter Belzo and Ryan Deguire but they had too man three and outs that lead to beneficial field position for Merchant Marine.
This offense had plenty of opportunities to score but only found pay dirt twice. Early in the game, Callahan coughed up a fumble in Merchant Marine territory. Later on in the first quarter, the Pride had a first and goal after recovering a Merchant Marine fumble. Three plays later, Hunter Belzo rolled to his right and threw a costly interception. This drive could have lead to three points or even more which would have changed this game’s outcome.
The Pride went into halftime with a 14-6 lead but were unable to put up any points on the board in the second half. Merchant Marine came back with a touchdown and a field goal to stun the Pride faithful and take a 17-14 road win.
This was Springfield’s first conference loss since being in the NEWMAC and it is going to prove costly come playoff time. The Pride drop to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference. MIT leads the conference with a perfect 6-0 record and 3-0 NEWMAC record. The Pride play MIT in the last regular season game and that will most likely be the make or break game to decide Springfield’s season.
This loss came at a bad time in the season but on cancer awareness day, with the circumstances behind one of the players and his family, this game is not the biggest of deals.
The Pride will travel to Washington, D.C. to take on Catholic next week.
Featured photo courtesy of Helen Lucas