In a showdown featuring two of the Liberty League’s top half teams, St. Lawrence was able to outlast Springfield College, as the Pride were on the wrong end of a 21-7 final, up in the frozen tundra of Canton, N.Y.
After a back and forth battle a season ago between these two squads, the Saints were determined to play solid defensive football and avenge their one point loss to Springfield 364 days prior.
St. Lawrence came into the game with the top ranked defense in the conference, averaging just 12.3 points allowed per game. For the season, the Saints had only yielded more than 14 points once.
They stayed true to their form Saturday against a Springfield team coming off one of their most dominating offensive performance of the season. Junior quarterback Jonathan Marrero led the team in rushing on the day, which was a mere 58 yards.
Turnovers proved to be a thorn in the Pride’s side as two first quarter red zone trips resulted in zero points as the Saints were able to force a pair of turnovers.
From that point forward, momentum had shifted and St. Lawrence was able to take control of the game.
Saints quarterback and team offense deserve some credit as well. Mike Lefflbine, a senior for St. Lawrence, contributed to two of the three scores with a rushing and passing touchdown.
After Saints junior Leondre Simmon made the first of his two interceptions of the afternoon, St. Lawrence put together a 15 play, 7 minute drive that accumulated 89 yards to put the first points on the board.
The Saints would never relinquish the lead.
Coming out of the half, they put together a key opening drive, as Lefflbine found Matt Gardiner in the end zone for an eight yard strike, putting St. Lawrence up 21-0. Despite Springfield scoring a late third quarter touchdown on a two yard run by Marrero, the opening drive by the Saints proved to be the dagger.
Defensively, Springfield was again led by the play of senior Max Nacewicz. Nacewicz led the way for both teams with 13 total tackles, 10 of which were solo.
Springfield will have some time to recover, as they enter their bye week and prepare for a visit from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which will be the Pride’s last regular season home game.
Should the Pride win that one and defeat rival WPI on the road the following week, Springfield will have a shot to play in a bowl game for the third consecutive season.
Billy Peterson can be reached at email@example.com