/columns/around-the-region/northeast/2015/bantams-defense-airtight

Trinity defense yet to yield a point in 2015


The Bantams defense has been stifling through three games.
Photo by David Newman

Trinity has still not allowed a touchdown thanks to a blend of freshman exuberance and senior experience.

The Bantams pitched shutouts against Colby and Williams and then beat Hamilton 29-4.

"It starts up front with our two seniors Lyle Baker and Preston Kelly. They have played a lot football for us," coach Jeff Devanney said.

But there is youth at linebacker where three freshmen play a lot and one of them starts. Shane Libby is the freshman starting at outside linebacker and classmates Dago Picon-Roura and Sean Smerczynski see considerable time on the field.

"The difference this year is that our secondary is playing with a lot of confidence," Devanney said.

Senior Paul McCarthy has been a key player in that unit with four interceptions including one in the end zone each of the last two weeks. This is the first time the Bantams have had him healthy in three years.

Then there is strong safety Spencer Donahue.

"He has been all over the field," Devanney said.

"It's been a group effort."

Fitchburg's Dellechiaie in record book

Fitchburg State's Garrett Dellechiaie threw for 294 yards and three scores in a 23-0 win over Worcester State while becoming the program's all-time leader in passing yardage with 6,504. Best of all for Falcons fans, he's only a junior.

Garrett Dellechiaie is atop Fitchburg State's record books with a season and a half of eligibility remaining.
Photo by Anna Burch

"His quality that is best, more so than his throwing or anything else, is that he is a team kid," coach Patrick Haverty said. "He doesn't care about the statistics even though he gets them.

"We usually can't hear the announcer but we happened to take a timeout when they announced it. All the kids were patting him on the back. He said, 'Who cares? Let's go get the win.' He just wants to do what we need him to do whether it's throwing the ball, running or handing the ball off."

Fitchburg is 5-1 and 3-1 in the MASCAC but Haverty said the Falcons must learn to keep the hammer down.

"We haven't played a complete game yet. We lose focus at times," he said.

Dellechiaie and Devin Summiel never seem to lose focus. They came into the program together as freshmen and have had a connection since. Summiel caught two of the touchdown passes in Saturday's win.

"They have been together on the field a lot and last year Devin had a lot of catches. We knew they would be covering him a lot this year so Garrett has done a great job of finding other guys. He has really spread it around," Haverty said.

Other side of the ball

Tyler Higley was a quarterback for Castleton his first two years. This season he was moved to defensive back and Saturday he made his first start on that side of the ball in a 34-14 victory over Mount Ida.

It was an auspicious start with two interceptions and two pass break-ups.

"I was excited about it," Higley said of the moment he was told he was moving to defense. "But I knew I had a lot to learn about playing defense on the college level.

"The biggest thing was getting an awareness of where I was on the field. That and getting a football IQ about defense and the defensive mentality."

Collins living up to billing

Becker coach Mike Lichten always likes to tout Davin Collins as being as good a player as there is in the ECFC. He had 11 tackles and broke up a pass in the Hawks' 14-13 win over SUNY-Maritime. Teammate Mike Calafiore was equally disruptive with four of his eight tackles for a loss.

Norwich also got a big win in the ECFC, pushing its league mark to 2-0 by winning at Gallaudet 27-6. Cadet quarterback Phillipe Bazinet continues to grow. He passed for 120 yards and ran for another 86. Linebacker Jake Apthorpe had eight tackles, three for a loss.

Quick kicks:

The battle of 2-0 teams in Amherst fizzled as the Lord Jeffs took the game over and beat Middlebury 24-7 with Reece Foy throwing for 246 yards and a touchdown. Evan Boynton keyed the Amherst defense with 12 tackles, two sacks, and an interception. ... Max Chipour rushed for 123 yards and three scores for Trinity. ... Tufts went to 3-0 with a 43-24 win over Bowdoin as Chance Brady ran for three scores. Willie Holmquist made all three of his field goal attempts for the Jumbos and is 7-of-9 this season. ... Gerald Hawkins ran and threw in leading Wesleyan to its 24-21 win over Colby. He passed for 178 yards and was also the Cardinals' leading rusher with 71 yards. Devon Carillo added 102 receiving yards and a TD and Justin Sanchez spearheaded the Wesleyan defense with 12 tackles and two pass break-ups. ... Williams beat Bates 16-14, its first win over the Bobcats since 2010. Austin Lomman passed for 309 yards and a score and Bobby Webster had a 31-yard field goal. ... Michael Nicol ran one in from three yards out with just nine seconds left to lift Western Connecticut to a 46-39 win over Maine Maritime. He had 166 yards rushing and one other touchdown. Western Conn. QB Will Arndt was prolific with 430 passing yards and four touchdowns. ... Matt Silva threw three TD passes and Jalen Green had 135 yards rushing with a touchdown as Framingham State remained unbeaten in the MASCAC, 35-7 over Westfield State. ... Alex McLaughlin rushed for three touchdowns in helping 4-2 Bridgewater State past UMass-Dartmouth 34-13 ... Husson went to 2-0 by whipping Anna Maria 46-7 as John Smith amassed 258 rushing yards with three touchdowns.

The big games

No doubt about the big game in the NESCAC where 3-0 Trinity travels to 3-0 Tufts.

"This is what it used to be. It seemed 10 to 12 years ago Trinity and Tufts were always 3-0 when we played," Devanney said.

That Bantam defense that has not allowed a touchdown figures to have its sternest test yet.

"Tufts really spreads you out," Devanney said.

The Jumbos don't throw it all over the lot but they extend the defense and make you play the whole field.

Endicott's trip to Salve Regina looks like the marquee contest in the NEFC where Western New England will puts its perfect record on the line at Maine Maritime, always a tough place to play.

SUNY-Maritime's trip to Norwich looks to be the game of the day in the ECFC where the home team is 2-0 in the league.

The top MASCAC game has Fitchburg State as Western Connecticut's homecoming opponent.

"I respect Western Connecticut's program a lot," Haverty said. "They play really hard and physical on defense and have a lot of offensive weapons.

"When we went down there two years ago they really put it on us. It was probably the worst loss I have had as a coach at Fitchburg State."

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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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