Fall colors, and wins, light up New England

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The Trinity defense made the Bantams' unbeaten mark stand up on a day in which the offense received four turnovers and only scored 17 points.
Trinity (Conn.) athletics photo by Davi
By Tom Haley
When you tear off the calendar page to October you do it with exuberance in this corner of the country. October is special with hillsides exploding into a magnificent array of reds, golds and oranges. Farm stands dot the countryside with their pumpkins and those delectable cider doughnuts.
If your football team is still unbeaten, those cider doughnuts taste even better.
It is not easy to go into October unbeaten. Western Connecticut was just hours from doing so when UMass-Dartmouth pinned a 17-13 defeat on the Colonials in a Saturday evening game.
Western Connecticut's Quinn Fleeting was just coming off a victory in which he threw for 345 yards and he had been the MASCAC Offensive Player of the Week in all three victories.
But UMD's Stephen Gacioch threw two touchdown passes and Harvey Mathurin was in on 12 tackles to lead the Corsairs to the win.
The survivors who have weathered the early season to take a perfect mark into October include SUNY Maritime, Framingham State, Springfield, Trinity, Middlebury and Amherst.
Springfield did it in their trademark fashion, pounding away on the ground in a 42-3 victory over Norwich. Jordan Wilcox led that rushing game with 111 yards and a score and to change it up a bit, Jedi Yanes caught a couple of TD passes as the Pride went to 5-0.
Middlebury takes the opposite route. The Panthers' air show was on display again as Jared Lebowitz threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns. The Panthers are 3-0 after the 37-6 conquest of Colby.
Amherst went to 3-0 with a balanced offense. Ollie Eberth threw for 254 yards and a score. He was complemented by Jake Hickey who rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown.
After outscoring opponents 86-0 the first two weeks, Trinity achieved its 3-0 mark in a dogfight as the Bantams got past Williams 17-9.
"I was a little disappointed in the way we played, but we did compete and we stayed together as a team," Trinity coach Jeff Devanney said.
Devanney feels the Bantams have a good offensive line but in this game that unit did not play well, he said.
Two shutouts and a win where the opponent scores nine points speaks volumes about the defense and they have been getting a lift there from two seniors who are starting for the first time. Free safety John Medina and corner Dominique Seagears had been waiting their turn, backing up two of the conference's better players the past three years.
"They have been playing very well," Devanney said.
Sonny Puzzo gives the Bantams an experienced quarterback. He has seven TD passes against a single interception. Puzzo does have a very young and inexperienced group of receivers, however, who will have to mature as the season goes on. The one emerging is Koby Schofer. A high school quarterback, he was on the scout team last year. He has quickly become a prominent piece of the passing attack and is the Bantams' leading receiver with 14 catches, two for touchdowns.
"He is the one making plays," Devanney said.
Devanney said Williams, which brought a 2-0 mark to Hartford, is a team to be reckoned with.
"To me, it felt like a playoff game," Devanney said. "It was a one-score game all fourth quarter and if you lose, your chances for a conference championship are probably gone."
Framingham State is 4-0 heading into the month, its perfect record already in the bank before the weekend. The Rams had a bye week.
SUNY-Maritime went to 4-0 by crushing ECFC newcomer Alfred State 49-6. Thomas Wright passed for 252 yards and a score.
His hot receiver had been Brandonn Drumgole through the first three victories. This time it was Curtis Smith with seven catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.
"That is the way it needs to be. If someone is taken away, somebody else needs to step up," Privateers coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes said. "And sometimes it is a matchup thing."
Wright has other receivers he can go to. Drumgole and Smith are both transfers, Drumgole coming from Plymouth State and Smith from Brockport State. Smith had been out of football a couple of years before arriving in the Bronx.
Wright has been a constant, producing big in all four wins.
"Tom is driven. He is driven to get better," Kendrick-Holmes said.

The Maine man

They are thrilled at Husson that John Smith found his way from Georgia to Maine. He also covered a lot of distance on Saturday, rushing for 301 yards and two scores. He broke his own program record of 280 yards in a game last year. Smith was a workhorse in the 28-7 win over Endicott with 39 carries.
The senior has 29 career games where he has rushed for 100 yards and in eight of them he reached 200. He is averaging 183 yards rushing per game this season.

In a rush

There were other big performances on the ground including one from Castleton's Moe Harris who rushed for 209 yards and three touchdowns in a  27-14 win over Anna Maria. ... Dean had two 100-yard rushers in its 10-3 win over Nichols. Matt Bethel ran for 108 and Richard Harris for 105. ... Alex McLaughlin ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns for Bridgewater State in a 28-9 win over Westfield State. ... Plymouth State's Mitch Banuskevich helped take Plymouth State to 4-1 by rushing for 157 yards and a score in a 16-6 win over Worcester State. ... WPI's Steve McAllen rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-0 defeat of Maine Maritime.

The foot in football

If Devanney and Trinity is in another close game, he has to feel good about the weapon he has with Eric Sachse who booted a 46-yard field goal. However, he missed a field goal on Saturday vs. Williams after making all 13 field goals attempted last season, with a long of 40.
SUNY Maritime's Matt Murphy had two more touchbacks on kickoffs and pinned Alfred State inside the 20 with  a couple of his punts.
Castleton's Mike Morgan pinned Anna Maria inside the 20 four times with his punts.
Quick kicks: Ryan McDonald fired four touchdown passes for Tufts in a 31-17 win over Bates, Jack Dolan catching three of them. ... Middlebury's Bobby Ritter had six tackles and forced a fumble. ... WPI's Sam Malafronte had nine tackles and forced a fumble. ... MIT's Udgam Goyal threw three TD passes for MIT in a 34-7 win over U.S. Merchant Marine. Matt Nicolai keyed the defense with 10 tackles and two interceptions. ... David Adam had nine tackles, including three for a loss, and forced a fumble to help Catholic to its 20-14 win over Coast Guard. ... SUNY Maritime's Karl Riek blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. ... Mark Piccirillo threw two TD passes and Dario Highsmith ran for two scores for Wesleyan in a 31-9 win over Hamilton. ... Trinity last lost a game in 2015. ... Matt Shea and Prince Gbaley each had 10 tackles and an interception for Plymouth. ... Gary Campbell had eight tackles and an interception for Trinity.

The big games

The game chosen as the game of the year in the ECFC before the season began is here. SUNY Maritime travels to Husson on Saturday. The sign a couple of weeks ago seen on ESPN's GameDay read: "SUNY Maritime Wants BAMA."
"Husson is our Alabama," Kendrick-Holmes said.
Husson is everyone's Bama in the ECFC.
It is only the second week of the conference season and a lot can happen, but right now the game of the year in the league is in Bangor on Saturday. "Husson is always good on defense and they have a lot of weapons in addition to John Smith," Kendrick-Holmes said.
The NESCAC will be down to at most two undefeated teams after this week. The 3-0 Middlebury team travels to 3-0 Amherst.

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Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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