NEWTON, Mass. – A dominant defensive performance that included nine sacks, in cold and rainy conditions, helped Mount Ida collect a 22-0 shutout victory over Becker College in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Mount Ida held the Hawks to just 38 yards of offense, including a net loss of 33 yards rushing. The Mustangs combined for twenty tackles for a loss, led by defensive standout Dominick Spaulding (W. Hartford, Conn.).
Spaulding recorded eight tackles, all of them behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 32 yards, and also had three of his team's sacks for a loss of 19 yards.
The Mustang's scores came on a passing touchdown, an interception return, a safety, and a fake field goal, as Mount Ida improved their record to 4-4 overall and 4-1 in the ECFC.
Becker forced four turnovers themselves, three interceptions and a fumble recovery in Mount Ida territory. Two of those picks were by sophomore defensive back Davin Collins (Far Rockaway, N.Y.), but the stingy Mustang defense did not allow the Hawks to get on the scoreboard.
The Mustangs started with a flurry, scoring 15 of their points in the first quarter, in which ball security plagued the visitors.
After both teams were forced to punt to start the game, Mount Ida recovered the ball at the Becker ten yard line after Devin Broadley's (Hyannis, Mass.) kick hit off of Collins and was recovered by Matt Greenman (Portsmouth, R.I.).
Three plays later, Greenman caught a 12 yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone, one of just three completed passes on the day by senior Jawad Yatim (Shrewsbury, Mass.), who was held to 23 yards in the air in blustery conditions.
Greenman accounted for a pair of scores, as he also ran in the final touchdown from six yards out on a fake kick with 5:16 left in the fourth quarter.
Fifty-five seconds after the touchdown hookup, on Becker's second play after the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Sean Chinova (Wateretown, Conn.) picked off Dylan McGuire (Somers, N.Y.) and returned the ball 22 yards for a score.
McGuire completed three passes for 47 yards with two interceptions, while Nasir Sinkfield-Shelton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) was 4-14 for 24 yards and took six sacks under center for the Hawks.
Mount Ida increased their lead to 15-0 when Spaulding got to Sinkfield-Shelton and sacked him in the end zone with 3:16 remaining in the first quarter. That was the second consecutive play in which the Mustangs got to the freshman quarterback, as Kalyn Smithson (Vilseck, Germany) had already pushed him back three yards to his own four yard-line.
Collins intercepted Yatim near midfield to start the second quarter, but again the Mustangs got sacks on two straight plays for a combined loss of 12 yards to force the Hawks to punt. Smithson was in the backfield again, as was Derek Bent (Billerica, Mass.), who had three sacks himself, along with seven tackles on the day.
The teams played scoreless second and third quarters, the latter due to another Collins interception at the Becker 20 when Mount Ida was driving for more points late in the frame, though that was followed by two more consecutive Mount Ida sacks, with Anthony Sanders (Meriden, Conn.) and Chris Toyloy (Yonkers, N.Y.) getting in on the action.
Mount Ida rode junior Melquan Pinkney (Springfield, Mass.), who had 19 carries for 57 yards, and in the fourth quarter carried the ball six consecutive times to get the Mustangs down to the Becker six yard line, where they lined up for a field goal try by Tyler Rodgers (Bridgewater, Mass.). Instead, Greenman took the direct snap and rushed up the middle for the score, with Rodgers adding the extra point to cap the scoring at 22-0.
Broadley punted nine times for 300 total yards, including four times landing the ball inside of the 20 yard line. His counterpart, junior DeJahn Dawkins (East Hartford, Conn.), punted seven times for an average of 35.0 yards for the Hawks.
On the defensive side of the ball, Josh Lawrence (Manhatten, N.Y.) led the visitors with 14 tackles, and also had an interception of Yatim.
Sophomore Mamour Samb (Pawtucket, R.I.) had a team-high 10 tackles for the Mustang defense, three of them for a loss.
Junior Matthew Romasco (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) gained just 13 yards on eight rushes for Becker, and Howard Bradley (Lincoln, R.I.) and Dawkins each had 31 yards receiving.
The teams were a combined 2-28 on third down conversions, with each team gaining five first downs in the game.
Mount Ida hits the road for the final time next Saturday afternoon when they travel to Anna Maria for a 1:00 pm kickoff.
Becker (0-8, 0-5 ECFC) finishes out their schedule with a pair of home games, hosting Husson next Saturday at noon before getting the Amcats themselves on November 15th at the same time.