Springfield is winning the trenches, and its games

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The Pride's offensive line is doing a nice job making a name for itself as a unit, though not necessarily as individuals.
Springfield athletics photo

By Tom Haley


Are we allowed to invent a word? It will have no chance of making it into Mr. Webster's pages, but perhaps there should be a word in the football lexicon to describe the anonymous nature of the life of an offensive lineman. Many a football fan of a certain era can ramble off the names of Miller, Stuhldreher, Layden, and Crowley as the Four Horsemen, but how many can name the guys up front who created their daylight?

The first week of the season Springfield had Jordan Wilcox (148 yards), Jake Eglintine (121) and Hunter Belzo (99) chew up real estate like Century 21 in a 35-21 win over Western New England. This week Wilcox amassed 223 yards in the 28-8 victory over Kean.

But who are these guys opening the holes in the Pride's option attack? They are sophomore center Nick Bainter, sophomore guards John Cox and Jeremy Lipsky, junior tackle Tim Christensen and tackle Chris Hayden, the lone senior. And sophomore tight end Dave Mikos is also an important piece of the blocking.

Hayden has been a leader.

"He has done an unbelievable job," head coach Mike Cerasulo said. "He moved from playing defense a couple of years ago.

"He is a walk-on kid. He is definitely self-made as far as football goes. He had been just kind of a scout team guy."

Most offensive lines you see will be bigger. These guys were all recruited as linebackers. But they are made for this offense.

"They play fast. They have to get to the second and third levels of the defense," Cerasulo said.

They are outstanding individually, but also as a unit.

"They have great relationships within the unit but also with the team," Cerasulo said. "They trust each other. They have great friendships. They hang out together, and a lot of them live together."

It has long been said that football games are won and lost in the trenches. Yet, it is the touchdown makers and players who fashion eye-catching numbers who grab the headlines and footage on he 11 p.m. news.

Make no mistake, the skill players know the worth of the big guys up front.

After throwing for 289 yards and four touchdowns for Fitchburg State in the 31-10 over Castleton, Nelson Valerio only wanted to talk about his offensive line.

"We have a nasty offensive line. They are the best in the conference," Valerio said.

Bears back on track

Western New England bounced back from that opening loss by whipping Westfield State 38-6. It gave them possession of the Presidents' Cup for the fourth straight year.

WNE's Anthony Service threw four touchdown passes and now has 32 for his career. He is closing in on the program record of 39 held by Justin Walz.

Curry went to 2-0 by beating MIT 15-7 as Alex Corvese passed for 124 yards and ran for 59 more.

Soup's on

SUNY Maritime outgunned Mass. Maritime 37-32 in the Chowder Bowl.

The 2-0 Privateers have already put up 96 points. Brandonn Drumgole was a major piece of the high-powered attack with a program-record 151 receiving yards.

Quarterback Thomas Wright again engineered the option with precision, part of a payoff for the hard work he put in during the offseason.

"He worked his tail off in the offseason with our offensive coordinator," coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes said.

Wright had 32 completions for 342 yards, both Privateer records.

Nichols cashing in

These are exciting times on Nichols' picturesque campus by the Massachusetts-Connecticut border. The Bison won their sixth straight and went 2-0 for the first time since 2000 by edging Anna Maria 28-21.

It was a good sign in the maturation of sophomore quarterback Tony Martignoli as he threw for 266 yards and a touchdown and also ran for two scores.

Brett McEvoy was again the leader on defense as he had 11 tackles, recovered a fumble and broke up a pass.

Plymouth rocks ECFC

The MASCAC's Plymouth State continued to feast on ECFC opponents. The 2-0 Panthers rolled past Mount Ida 27-0 and have outscored ECFC opponents 58-7.

Zack Edwards and Jacob Szulc had a special connection, hooking up for three touchdown passes.

Rockin' in Rhody

Salve Regina got a statement win by beating Montclair State 26-20.

The Seahawks did it through the air and over land. Danny McDermott threw three touchdown passes and had no interceptions. James Dawson rushed for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Gulls fly high

Endicott turned a lot of heads with a 29-28 win over highly regarded Bridgewater State.

Joe Kalosky led the offense by throwing for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Riley Shanley caught two of those touchdown strikes among his six receptions.

Quick kicks: Noah Brum passed for 332 yards and three touchdowns to lead Worcester State to a 36-7 win over Becker. Noah Hwang made good on all three of his field goal attempts, one from 42 yards. ... Matt Murphy also had three field goals for SUNY Maritime. ... Fitchburg's top receiver Jesse Brown was injured early in the game and did not return. Herbert Acosta more than filled the void, catching eight passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. ... Framingham State went to 2-0 and struck a blow for the MASCAC and New England region by trimming Cortland state 29-14 as Quoron Wright rushed for 167 yards and a score. Nathan Fleming was a leader on the other side of the ball for the Rams with 10 tackles and an interception. ... Husson's John Smith rushed for 159 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-12 win over Dean.

The big games

The MASCAC begins conference play this week and the biggest game of all has to be the showdown between contenders Framingham and Bridgewater State in Bridgewater on Friday night.

The conference games mark the beginning of a whole new season, and Fitchburg coach Patrick Haverty reminded his team of that as he gathered them at midfield after the win.

"This was not a championship. This is nothing to celebrate," Haverty said to the players.

Their conference season begins Saturday at Worcester State.

SUNY Maritime has its big rivalry game with the team across the water, the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Another rivalry game takes place Saturday night with the Maple Sap Bucket game between state rivals Norwich and Castleton. The game is earlier this year due to Norwich's move from the ECFC to the NEWMAC.

NESCAC teams begin their season a week earlier than usual and the league added a ninth game this season.

Mass. Maritime and Maine Maritime battle in the 45th annual Admiral's Cup.

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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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