Inside Mount Ida's victory
|Mount Ida's program started
in 1999 and struggled for years before posting three consecutive
Mount Ida athletics photo
There was a wild celebration at midfield at Spartan Stadium after Mount Ida had beaten Castleton State 52-28 on Saturday to earn the Mustangs their trip to Wesley for the NCAA Division III first-round playoff game.
But even in this greatest moment of the 13-year history of Mustang football, there was time to reflect on Josh and Alex Yood, those little guys back home that have become part of the Mustang family.
Josh and Alex are twins who were born prematurely so that they have a number of health issues. The Mount Ida team adopted them through the Team Impact program.
"They are our biggest fans," Ida quarterback Scott Drosendahl said.
"We see them every week," Mount Ida coach Mike Landers said. "They come to our practices. They are a big part of our family.
"The most important thing we did all year was not winning the championship, but adopting those kids."
Landers was not at Spartan Stadium for the game. He was suspended and not allowed to make the trip per Ida's athletic policy which prohibits any coach from coaching in the next game if they are ejected from a contest. Landers was ejected in the game the previous week at Gallaudet.
He was home watching the game on the Northeast Sports Network's videocast.
Now, the Mustangs will represent the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference in the playoffs, along with Bridgewater State and Framingham State from the New England Football Conference. The Rams defeated Salve Regina in the NEFC Championship Game and the Bridgewater Bears got an at-large berth with their 9-1 record. The Bears' loss was to Framingham.
Chris McNally had an outstanding day rushing for Mount Ida. He went through the Spartan defense for 243 yards and two touchdowns to lead a ground game that piled up 342 yards.
"It was a great effort by Chris McNally. It is what he's done all year," Drosendahl said.
Drosendahl complemented that ground game by throwing for 170 yards and two scores.
Landers said Drosendahl is as complete a quarterback as he has been around. That is no small compliment since Landers was a teammate of Joe Hamilton at Georgia Tech in 1995. Hamilton went on to finish second in the Hesiman voting to Ron Dayne in 1999, finishing ahead of quarterbacks Michael Vick, Drew Brees and Chad Pennington in the balloting.
"He is truly the general out there," Landers said of Drosendahl. "A lot of quarterbacks play in systems today where they throw 40 to 60 times a game and put up big numbers. But Scotty is so consistent and manages the game so well."
Drosendahl aims for a good mix of pass and run.
"If we don't have a running game, we aren't going to be a complete offense," said Drosendahl, obviously an extension of Landers' offensive philosophy.
How does a quarterback like Drosendahl from the Buffallo area wind up on a campus in Newton...