Winning with and from space

After getting a message from space, NFL prospect Diego Dietrich helped the Privateers defeat their rivals from Merchant Marine.
SUNY-Maritime athletics photo by Damion Reed

The SUNY-Maritime football team got a phone call from space on the eve of their game against across-the-water rival U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. It was alumnus Scott Kelly calling from the International Space Station, 240 miles from the Earth's atmosphere.

Then, the Privateers beat Merchant Marine by kicking the ball into space.

Matt Murphy normally handles the kickoffs but was unable to make the kick due to illness. Clayton Kendrick-Holmes called on his star field goal kicker Diogo Dietrich to try an onside kick. It was not the 10-yard variety, but the one you kick for a little more distance, trying to place it into no-man's land where your teammates can sprint to it and recover it.

"Diogo is more accurate. We use him for positional kicking," Kendrick-Holmes said.

Sure enough, he found the space.

"He put it in the dead zone and we recovered it. It was a huge swing in the game," Kendrick-Holmes said.

Dietrich also kicked a 33-yard field goal in the 24-14 victory. He is 4-for-5 this year in his field goal attempts. The previous week in the loss to Mass. Maritime he made a 47-yarder and a 43-yarder and missed a 52-yard attempt by less than a yard.

He had a tryout with the Redskins and the scouts have been around.

With Division III graduates like Middlebury's Steven Hauschka in Seattle and RPI's Andrew Franks with Miami, the NFL isn't going to miss any future possibilities from small schools.

"When they swing through New York City to schools like Wagner, Post, and Stony Brook they come by to check on Diogo," Kendrick-Holmes said.

Dietrich is from Brazil but went to high school in New Jersey.

"He was one of our top recruits," Kendrick-Holmes said. "When we recruited him he liked it and it has been a great fit."

The standout on defense for the Privateers was linebacker Kameron Knight. He had 12 tackles, four for a loss.

"The kid is phenomenal," Kendrick-Holmes said. "He had been on a ship for 90 days before camp and when he got off, he never looked better. We have a weight room on the ship.

"He is a machine. He's our leader. He was dominant on the edge."

Western Conn.'s interchangeable parts

Western Connecticut rolled to a 52-0 victory over Plymouth State in its MASCAC opener.

Michael Nicol, moved to running back the previous week in a 48-33 win over Union, continued to be productive. He rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

Switched from quarterback to running back because of an injury, he was prolific against the Dutchmen in rushing for three scores.

"He never played running back in his life and he rushed for 255 yards against Union," Colonials coach Joe Loth said.

Loth also said that Nicol will see some time again at quarterback.

Against Plymouth, senior quarterback Will Arndt threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

"Nicol is a big (6'2", 215 lbs.) physical back. He is more of a power back than a speed back," Loth said.

He and Arndt also give the Colonials plenty of options when it comes to situational football and matchups.

Over land in Castine

It's impressive when a team can have two backs rush for more than 100 yards in the same game. Maine Maritime had that in its 47-41 Admiral's Cup victory over Mass. Maritime.

But the Mariners nearly had four of their backs out of the option attack reach the century mark. James Ferrar amassed 157 yards, Michael Fahey ran for 138, Joshua Doolan added 96 and Jacob Doolan tacked on another 88.

The Mariners had 499 net yards rushing.

But in a game that featured 88 points, it came down to defense. The Mariners had to make a late goal-line stand to preserve the victory.

Jeddy Doyon led that Mariner defensive effort with 16 tackles.

Record-breaking Corsairs

UMass-Dartmouth quarterback Cory Burnham threw for 489 yards and six touchdowns, both program records, in a 48-41 MASCAC win over Westfield State.

Abbi Bamgbose also broke records with 209 receiving yards and four touchdown catches.

Westfield's Erik Washburn set a school mark by throwing for 448 yards. He had four scoring strikes.

Quick kicks

Framingham State opened league play by beating Fitchburg State 34-21. Matt Silva had four touchdown passes and now has 14 through three games. ... Stephen Beahn had 16 tackles for Framingham, 3.5 for a loss, and forced a fumble. ... Salve Regina's Brandan Basil had four touchdown passes in a 32-14 win over Castleton and Sam Pascale rushed for 211 yards for the Seahawks. ... Mike O'Hearn threw two touchdown passes to lift Curry to a 23-16 win over Anna Maria. .... Mount Ida lost to Springfield 38-10 and Norwich showed marked improvement but fell to 0-3 with a 27-10 loss at WPI. ... Derek Victory passed for 306 yards and a touchdown but Coast Guard still lost 40-24 to Catholic. ... Endicott lost 34-9 to St. Lawrence. ... Western New England had an impressive 41-14 win over Union with Sam Olsson outstanding in the secondary for the Golden Bears. He had two interceptions and two pass breakups. WNE had balance on offense with Nick Connell rushing for 122 yards and a score and Anthony Service and Kevin Peabody throwing two TD passes each. ... Bridgewater State opened MASCAC play with a 34-28 win over Worcester State. Alex McLaughlin threw two touchdown passes for the Bears and ran one in. Travis Bassett had six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Dance led the Bridgewater defense with 15 tackles.

The big games

Hard to believe for a lot of people, but the NESCAC is just opening its season this week.

The NESCAC teams play only eight games with no postseason. That leaves many wondering why this 10-team league can't simply play a ninth game so that everyone plays everyone else and you'd have a true champion. Oh yeah, and you could start a week earlier.

The most intriguing opener has Middlebury making the trip to Wesleyan.

All openers are special and football-starved NESCAC fans have Bates hosting Amherst, Williams at Bowdoin, Trinity making the trip to Colby, and Hamilton hosting Tufts.

But the biggest game of all is in the MASCAC where Western Connecticut hosts Framingham.

Framingham and Western Conn. were picked 1-2 in the preseason coaches' poll and each won its league opener.

"Framingham is the defending champion. They are the one everyone is shooting for," Loth said. "They have one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He is as accurate as any quarterback."

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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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