September 26, 2006

For a good cause, good game

More news about: Alfred

By Adam Samrov
D3sports.com

There's not many feelings in the world greater than helping out a good cause.

A good amount of money was raised at the Ithaca-St. John Fisher game Saturday on behalf of injured Alfred sophomore tailback Julio Fuentes. Fuentes, who is from Olean, N.Y., injured his neck in a collision on a kickoff return against Thiel in the Saxons' 14-0 win in the opening week of the season.

St. John Fisher athletic director Bob Ward said raising the money was part of the Empire 8 initiative to help out Fuentes and his family in their time of need.

"We wanted to something as a school to get as much donations as we could, and we knew the Ithaca game would be well-attended," Ward said Monday in a telephone interview.

Empire 8 commissioner Chuck Mitrano couldn't be reached by telephone Monday afternoon.

Alfred sports information director Mark Whitehouse said Monday that Julio was still in "guarded condition" at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

According to a release on the Alfred website, friends of the Fuentes family have established the Julio Fuentes Recovery Trust Fund through the Alfred branch of Community Bank.

Mark Shardlow, the director of Alumni and Community Relations at Alfred said there has been cooperation between many different facets of the school to get a response out to the community.

"We've corresponded with all the supporters of the Friends of Saxon Athletics, former athletes, a letter to alums from the president of the college, and e-mails to alumni and current staff, faculty and students," said Shardlow. "The local media has also been supportive in getting the information out to the public."

He said donations from alumni, the campus community and the general public may be sent to Friends of Saxon Athletics, in care of University Relations, Alfred University, Alfred, NY 14802. Checks should be clearly marked "Julio Fuentes Recovery Trust Fund."

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Office of Alumni and Community Relations at (607) 871-2144 or by e-mailing alumni@alfred.edu.

"It says a lot that people have been so willing to help out," Whitehouse said. "The response has been terrific."

Shardlow said that efforts are in the works to sell Livestrong bracelets to raise money. Alfred plays their Homecoming game next weekend against Norwich.

A game was also played in Pittsford Saturday.

In a score that was pretty shocking despite Fisher's rise into regional prominence in Division III, the 25th-ranked Cardinals shut out No. 11 Ithaca in the second half on route to a 34-10 win.

Cardinals running back Mark Robinson carried 17 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yard touchdown run early in the second half.

Ithaca dominated in the first half, holding the ball for more than 22 minutes and holding Fisher to 48 yards in offense.

"We felt extremely fortunate to be down just 10-0 at intermission, because they really dominated us," said Fisher head coach Paul Vosburgh, now in his 16th season, in a press release. "We really didn't make any adjustments at halftime, we just stepped up the intensity in the second half and both our offense and defense rose to the occasion."

Fisher, who now starts 4-0 for the second time in three years, takes on Hartwick next week, while Ithaca, which lost for the first time in the conference since Sept. 25, 2004, takes on Brockport at Special Olympic Stadium next Saturday at 1 p.m.

The other game that featured two East Region teams ranked in the Top 25 was a little closer based on the score, but anyone who saw it or listened to it got a different feeling.

No. 19 Hobart led 24-3 midway through the fourth quarter, but No. 24 RPI tried desperately a la the New York Giants against the Seahawks to come back, getting two touchdowns, one a 1-yard run from Jay Bernando to get back to 24-10 and then an 11-yard TD pass from Jimmy Robertson to tight end Jon Branche to get within seven, but Hobart recovered the kickoff and ran out the clock.

What killed RPI the most was the four turnovers on the day.

"Their defense was a real credit and we couldn't get going against them," RPI coach Joe King told the Troy Record. "By the time we got things going, it was too late."

This was the fifth straight victory for Hobart against the Engineers.

"This is very frustrating," King told the paper. "They have beaten us five straight time and three at home. Especially losing at home really hurts. That's the worst part ... at our own place."

Despite the loss, RPI is not deterred.

"This doesn't make or break our season," Bernando told the Record. "We have to play catch-up. We still have a chance."

Predictions, predictions, oh how I hate predictions

In last week's column, I predicted Ithaca would beat Fisher 35-28 in OT and I had RPI beating Hobart 28-17. Well. This is why I write a column and I'm not a Vegas bookie.

Call me 1-2 so far on the season.

See my predictions at the bottom of this column of three games this week in the East Region.

Great performances

Brockport running back Garet Lynch ran for 262 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns in the Golden Eagles' 22-0 win over Frostburg State.

Chris Sharpe, Springfield quarterback, ran for 235 yards and five touchdowns in the Pride's 41-34 win over Alfred. Sharpe is becoming a fixture in the "Great Performances" part of this column.

A team peering over the edge

Brockport is 2-1 and 2-0 in ACFC play, with wins over Salisbury and now Frostburg State and a seven-point loss to Cortland. They still have to play Wesley, a Top 10 team, on Oct. 21, but look for the Golden Eagles in the next few weeks. However, as a disclaimer, they do play St. John Fisher, Ithaca, and a resurgent Springfield in the next three weeks, so if they aren't careful, this could go from a team peering over the edge to a team slipping in the abyss.

A reader emailed me asking me to put together a East Region Top Ten. I like the idea, so I'm going to try. Hopefully, this will start some good discussion on the East Region boards.

1. St. John Fisher

2. Wesley

3. Rowan

4. Hobart

5. Springfield

6. Ithaca

7. Cortland State

8. Union

9. Brockport State

10. RPI

This was a pretty difficult list to go through but with a ton of quality teams in the region, I'm sure it'll change next week all around.

Predictions

Utica at Springfield: Last year, the Pioneers won one of the most important games in their young history, beating the Pride 34-33 at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. This time on the carpet in Massachusetts, look for a little revenge.
Springfield 44, Utica 17

Ithaca at Brockport: Ithaca won't take anyone lightly, but especially after getting whupped by Fisher in the second half Saturday.
Ithaca 34, Brockport 21

Hartwick at St. John Fisher: Fisher set a school record for points last year at All-Weather Field in Oneonta beating the host Hawks 70-41. I don't think that many points will be scored this week, but I think Fisher is on a mission.
St. John Fisher 49, Hartwick 17

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Andrew Lovell

Andrew Lovell is an associate news editor for ESPN.com and a former sports staff writer/editor for the New Britain Herald (Conn.). He has contributed freelance work to ESPN Rise and has been a regular contributor to D3football.com since 2007. Andrew has also written for a number of daily newspapers in New York, including the Poughkeepsie Journal, Ithaca Journal and Auburn Citizen. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with B.A. in Sport Media and a minor in writing. A native of Hyde Park, N.Y., Andrew currently resides in New Britain. 

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov 

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