SPRINGFIELD — As the fans filled the stands at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field on Saturday, they came expecting a show from the Springfield College football team and a show they got.
In their home opener, the Pride racked up close to 400 yards rushing while the defense held the visiting Husson Eagles to just 166 yards of total offense in a 36-0 romp, giving SC their second win in as many weeks.
Leaning on the powerful running of Louis Fenaroli, who finished with 92 yards on 21 carries, SC got going early, taking a 14-0 advantage into the half, and pulled away late, overpowering the Eagles front line.
“[Lou’s] a big back, but he also has a little wiggle to him,” said head coach Mike DeLong. “He’s pretty consistent.”
Springfield’s opening drive appeared to stall out facing a 4th-and-8 just inside Husson territory. Going for it on fourth, quarterback Jon Marrero rolled left, looking downfield. With the rush coming, Marrero zipped a bullet to James Poggio on the Husson sideline. Tiptoeing the edge, Poggio reeled in the pass before being knocked out of bounds, but not before picking up the first.
Following powerful runs from Fenaroli and Keith Rodman, Fenaroli powered through for his first score of the game. The ensuing extra point was blocked, giving SC the 6-0 advantage.
Springfield corralled the Husson offense much of the day, consistently giving the SC offense opportunities to add to the lead.
With under five minutes to play, SC did just that. With the ball on their own 47-yard line, Springfield’s Joel Altavesta took off for a 52-yard run, and was finally dragged down at the 1-yard line. Blake Joppy followed by cruising around the right end for his first career touchdown. Altavesta took the two-point conversion in, extending the Springfield lead to 14.
Springfield looked to extend the lead late in the second quarter, but a costly fumble inside the red zone, one of three on the day, ended the scoring opportunity.
In the second half, Springfield picked up right where they left off. Taking advantage of a personal foul on Husson and relying on their patented running attack, Fenaroli rumbled in from eight yards out. Going for two again, Springfield converted on a connection from Marrero to Poggio to push the lead to 22.
The two teams traded three-and-outs and turnovers before Springfield put the game out of reach. After first down runs from Austin Bateman, Marrero and Rodman, Fenaroli bowled up the middle from one yard out, his third score on the day, extending the lead to 29.
A late score from Mike Mastroianni capped off the scoring for Springfield.
Despite playing without pre-season All-American Max Nacewicz, who fractured his foot, the Springfield defense didn’t miss a beat. Relying on dominant play from their veterans, Springfield held Husson to just 4 of 14 on third downs and 2 of 13 passing while intercepting the Eagles twice.
“We knew we had to play hard,” said Mike Dublin, who finished with an interception to go along with eight tackles, one for a loss. “Missing our captain is a big thing, but he was on the sideline giving us support, being there even though he couldn’t play. Basically, we had to step up.”
By forcing Husson to punt seven times, the Pride made sure that the Eagles never had any serious chances to score, holding them to only 10 first downs compared to 26 by the Springfield offense.
“We played pretty hard up inside,” noted DeLong. “[Husson was] trying to run a power type game…there are about five of them rotating in there [in the absence of Nacewicz] right now, so collectively they did a good job.”
Next up the Pride will travel to Mount Ida for their final non-conference game before heading to Rochester for their Liberty League opener. Springfield returns home on October 5th to face rival Union on Family Weekend.