It was finally beginning to feel like fall again.
The weather was cooling down, leaves were changing colors, and the Springfield College football team returned to Alonzo Stagg Field, where they cruised to 48-21 win over Merchant Marine on Saturday.
After splitting road games to begin the month of October, the Pride were able to put together what was arguably their, best offensive performance of the season in front of a packed home crowd for alumni/homecoming weekend. Many generations of former Springfield football players came out to support, and they were treated to quite a game from junior quarterback Jonathan Marrero.
In an interview after the game, Coach Mike Delong said, “John did some things out there that we really can’t coach with the ball in his hands, and he made some big plays.”
Marrero, who was quick to give all the credit to the blocking from his linemen and the rest of his offensive teammates, rushed for 205 yards in the first half alone, and finished with 209 yards on the ground.
“None of that happens without the linemen, running backs, and wide outs making their blocks,” Marrero said. “It just so happens that I have the ball, but they deserve the credit.”
Despite only having the football for just over six minutes the entire first half, the Pride were able to rack up 405 yards of total offense.
Marrero’s big day was highlighted by an incredible 87 yard touchdown run, where he neatly avoided several Merchant Marine defenders before finally breaking free and taking it for a touchdown, putting Springfield up 21-7, a lead they would not relinquish.
Any doubt of whether or not the Pride could bounce back from a tough road loss was erased quickly as it took the offense just a minute and 33 seconds into the game to drive 80 yards into the end zone for the game’s first points.
“They bounced back and put that one behind them,” Delong said. “To bounce back off of a tough loss where we had high expectations, [as coaches] we’re proud of the way they responded.”
Springfield operated quickly on offense all afternoon long, as only one of their seven scoring drives lasted longer than two minutes.
Marrero’s big day offensively earned him both ECAC Division III Northwest Co-offensive player of the week and Liberty League Football offensive player of the week honors. To go along with his 209 yards rushing and three scores on the ground, Marrero also threw for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
The win on Saturday pushes the Pride’s record up to 6-2, and 3-1 in league play. They will have another difficult challenge ahead of them as they travel north of the border on October 25 for a 1:00 p.m. contest with St. Lawrence.
Billy Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org