Six games into the season, Springfield College football looks like it hasn’t missed a beat from last season. After going undefeated in 2017, the Pride now sit at 5-1 and their success once again heavily depends on the effectiveness of the triple option, which has been the identity of the offense for some time.
Last season, the Pride’s offense was lead by the trio of Jordan Wilcox, Jake Eglintine and Hunter Belzo. With Wilcox and Eglintine both graduated and the top two quarterbacks in Chad Shade and David Wells out for the year, the Pride have had to rely on other names to make an impact. Sophomore fullback Tim Callahan has seemed to fit into that role quite nicely.
During the Pride’s historic 2017, Callahan shadowed players like Wilcox and Belzo. Throughout those 10 regular season games, he rushed the ball 32 times for 189 yards. Although the 5.9 yards per rush looked promising, Callahan’s reps were lacking due to the names ahead of him.
This season, he’s had 327 yards on 75 attempts and three touchdowns through the six games thus far.
With key running backs gone, Callahan was one of the names who was in line to fill the roles. After a slow first game in which he only had four rushes for 19 yards, Callahan followed it up with the best game of his career, rushing 10 times for 56 yards and picking up his first two career touchdowns.
Later in the season, the Pride traveled to take on Norwich. In that game, Callahan once again proved he could be The Guy when he had 20 rushing attempts for a career-high 111 yards and a score. So far, Callahan has surpassed the numbers he put up last year.
“Football is all about confidence,” said Callahan. “We’ve had a bunch of key guys go down with injuries so I’ve had to step up and take on this role and getting the chance to score a few times builds my confidence and makes me want to continue to work and get better so that I can keep this role.”
With Shade and Wells no longer under center, natural running back Hunter Belzo has had to play quarterback and run the offense. So far, he has had a tremendous season rushing 104 times for 546 yards and eight touchdowns along with throwing for a score as well. Having Belzo behind center, Callahan really hasn’t seen a difference in his play style.
“It’s really the same game flow,” he said. “The first week we had to make some adjustments but it’s the same offense and we have to run it the same way and the coaches have done a great job with making that smooth transition for us.”
In the team’s 45-10 loss against Union, both Shade and Wells went down and the offense appeared lost. The Pride consistently struggled to pick up first downs and a 10-0 lead turned into a 45-10 loss fairly quick. It seemed Belzo under center was too big of a change to handle mid-game but after the Pride had time to make the necessary adjustments, they have seemed to be moving just fine.
Since the loss to Union, Springfield is 3-0 while outscoring opponents 76-42. Belzo is coming off a game in which he torched the Coast Guard defense for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Although these numbers are certainly appealing, it’s the work that’s done in front of him to open wholes and Callahan’s time on the field plays a huge role in that.
“Hunter is a tremendous athlete and we want him to get the ball as much as possible,” Callahan said. “There are a lot of plays where he takes the ball to the outside and I have to lead block for him and it feels good making a good block knowing I can help get my brothers in the end zone.”
Callahan’s mentality perfectly fits the idea of the Brotherhood. He is a physical presence who works hard and it doesn’t matter if he gets the ball or not, he just wants what is best for his team and he wants to keep winning.
Photos courtesy of Springfield Athletics