With 1:39 remaining in the fourth quarter of play, Mount Ida College football senior kicker Bobby Hemmann (Newington, CT/Newington) converted a 47 yard field goal attempt propelling the Mustangs to a 24-21 non-conference victory over visiting UMASS-Darmouth Friday evening in the 2012 season opener in Newton, Massachusetts. It was the first game ever played on Alumni Field, Mount Ida's new state-of-the-art turf stadium just recently completed this summer turning out to be a memorable day for all involved in the "Light the Night" kick-off event in the college's first ever night game.
This is the first time since the inception of Mount Ida football in 1999 that the program has won the first game of the season improving to 1-0 beating the Corsairs for the first time in their second meeting against each other (2011-L, 24-21). The visitors fall to an overall record of 0-1.
Hemmann was the hero for the Mustangs but they wouldn't have been in line for the win if it wasn't for the outstanding play of senior quarterback Scott Drosendahl (East Aurora, NY/East Aurora) who went 15-33 passing for 299 yards and two touchdown passes and a TD scamper late in the second quarter. Mustang junior wide receiver had a career day with five catches for 170 yards and a TD while senior tight end Michael Babich (Franklin Square, NY/H. Frank Carey) notched the first touchdown of his career with two catches for 23 yards. Mount Ida sophomore running back Chris McNally (Bourne, MA/Bourne) notched 22 carries for 87 yards on the ground as well.
Offensively the Corsairs were led by senior quarterback Patrick Orlando (Manchester, MA/Essex (Saint Anselm)) going 31-43 with three touchdown passes adding 287 yards through the air in the process. The bulk of Orlando's passes were reaching the hands of senior wide out Brendan McNeish (Springfield, MA/Agawam/Bridgton Academy) hauling in 152 yards receiving on 15 catches with a touchdown. Orlando would also add 54 yards on the grounds on seven carries.
Defensively Mount Ida saw outstanding individual performances from senior cornerback Azim Carter (East Hartford, CT/East Hartford) with 4.5 tackles and an interception. Mount Ida junior defensive back Frank Greene (Hamden, CT/Hamden) chipped in a game-high 7.5 total tackles (six solo, three assist) a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
For the Corsairs, junior linebacker Joe Teixera (Seekonk, MA/Seekonk) notched seven total tackles (six solo, two assist). Sophomore linebacker Art Azatyants (Brookline, MA/Brookline) and junior defensive end Jordan McDonald (Brockton, MA/Brockton) added a half a sack and four solo tackles a piece as well.
The visitors went ahead early capitalizing on a five play, 17 yard drive that ended on a three yard pass from Orlando to McNeish. The visitors were set up in the Mount Ida zone after a crucial fumbled snap that gave the ball to the Corsairs in the hosts red zone eventually making it 6-0 in favor of the visitors. The point after attempt by UMD was blocked by Mustang senior defensive lineman Dane Finis (Canton, MA/UMASS-Dartmouth) leaving the score where it was.
The rest of the first quarter was stale offensively with the action picking up with 6:47 left before halftime. The Corsairs converted another TD through the air on a 17 yard pass from Orlando to senior Romario Berneche (Everett, MA/Pope John XXIII (Mount Ida)) for the 13-0 lead after a successful PAT.
Mount Ida would not go quiet as usually per order of fifth year Head Coach Michael Landers connecting with the end zone 27 seconds before the midway point on a 13 play, 77 yard drive ending with a two yard quarterback keeper from Drosendahl making it 13-7 after a good point after by Hemmann.
After almost no action through the third quarter the Mustangs got a spark from a forced fumble and recovery by Greene setting the Mustangs up on their own 25 yard line with 5:30 left in the stanza. Drosendahl would air out a perfectly thrown ball to Hyman who caught it in stride finishing at the end zone for a 62 yard touchdown catch taking a 14-13 advantage for Mount Ida's first lead of the contest.
A three-and-out by the visitors gave the ball back to the hosts early in the fourth quarter with Mount Ida capitalizing on a 10 play, 71 yard drive finalized on an eight yard TD pitch-and-catch from Drosendahl to Babich taking the 21-13 lead.
The Corsairs took their next possession and converted it into a score to tie the game at 21-21 early in the final quarter. It looked as if there was a fire lit underneath the visitors connecting on a six play, 56 yard drive finished on a 28 yard touchdown catch from Orlando to junior wide receiver Kiki Louis (Lowell, MA/Lowell). The visitors trailed by two and elected to go for the two-point conversion. Orlando connected with junior Nico Irano (East Boston, MA/Boston Latin) stymieing the game at 21 all.
There was still plenty of time for either team to take over with Mount Ida eating a lot of the clock on two drives including the game winner on Hemmann's kick. Through the final 12:25 of play the Corsairs only held the ball for three minutes. Mount Ida eventually would seal the deal with an impressive 47 yard field goal from Hemmann. The Mustang defense held off the visitors in dramatic fashion through the final ticks of the game rewarding the hosts with the 24-21 win.
Mount Ida travels to hosting non-conference foe Plymouth State University this coming Saturday in Plymouth, New Hampshire with game time slated for 1:00 p.m. The Mustangs fell to the Panthers in Newton, Massachusetts last season on a game ending questionable no-catch call that would have propelled Mount Ida to victory falling 19-13.
The Corsairs will travel to New England Football Conference (NEFC) member Bridgewater State University with kick-off slated for 12 noon.