First-time excitement for Maritime, Endicott
|SUNY-Maritime and coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes
have gotten a fair amount of publicity and it's deserved, at
SUNY-Maritime athletics photo
SUNY-Maritime and Endicott showed their excitement about going to the playoffs for the first time in different ways.
Endicott coach B.J. Wells was busy texting players Sunday morning to get them together to watch the selection show.
"Our kids are so busy marching and studying, the last thing they need to be doing is watching a show on TV," SUNY-Maritime coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes said.
But don't think Kendrick-Holmes' Privateers weren't excited when their name was revealed and they found their first-round opponent would be Alfred.
"There's a lot of texting going on. Everyone is very excited that we're going to the dance," Kendrick-Holmes said while in his car minutes after the show concluded Sunday afternoon.
He and an assistant coach watched the show with their wives.
The Privateers had a week of light practice. Guys not on the two-deep got in some extra work and starters healed injuries.
Endicott couldn't take that approach. They had to travel to Maine and knock off the defending New England Football Conference champions in the NEFC Championship Game.
They had the daunting task of dealing with Maine Maritime Academy's triple option attack that led the country in rushing; one that had scored 61 points against Worcester State, 63 against Coast Guard, 50 against Framingham State and eclipsed 40 points on four other occasions.
Wells had a plan.
"We knew we weren't going to stop them. You don't stop them. We thought we could slow them down," Wells said.
The scheme was to stop the fullback, hit the quarterback and get out on the perimeter to make tackles while forcing some turnovers.
"I don't think we stopped the fullback," Wells said.
No, Jim Bower, the nation's leading rusher went for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
But they carried out the plan well enough to hold the Mariners to 35 points while scoring 38 themselves.
The Gulls forced four fumbles and recovered three.
Quarterback Phil Konopka was brilliant for the Gulls and won the William J. Motta Award, the MVP trophy for the NEFC Championship Game.
Konopka threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more. Mike Lane complemented him by rushing for 123 yards and the winning score with 58 seconds remaining.
"He was really composed," Wells said of Konopka.
The offensive line did its job as Konopka stayed upright and untouched.
But most of Wells' plaudits went to the defense. Holding the Mariners to 35 points is not often done. It was their lowest total of the year. They also scored 35 against Bridgewater State but won that game.
Kyle Capasalis made the play on defense that was magnified. His coverage on Maine receiver Nate Duford in the final seconds denied the Mariners the winning touchdown.
And getting the big stats were P.J. Bay (eight tackles), Oscar Moore (seven) and Peter Kallas (six).
But the real heroes on that side of the ball were the five guys in the rotation on the defensive line: Kevin Eagan, Kevin Pressey, Marcell Cooper, Chris Gogolos and Andrew Zani,
"They were just warriors in there," Wells said. "If you don't have them banging inside all day, we don't get it done."
"The coaches did a great job in preparing them and in slowing their offense down," Wells said.
It's not often that you talk about holding a team to 35 points. But when it's Maine Maritime, it's an accomplishment.
And now it's an NCAA playoff game.
If you had asked in the heat of summer, the more likely Maritime to be in the NCAA playoffs, everyone's answer would have been Maine Maritime.
But SUNY-Maritime is surprise and Cinderella story of a kind that has been attracting national attention. The deployment of Naval Reservist Kendrick-Holmes later this month has been chronicled by all different types of print and electronic media (including D3football.com back in September) with an ESPN spot to commeorate Veteran's Day last week being one of the latest.
Kendrick-Holmes, in fact, does not know if he will even be able to be with the team should it advance to the second round.
"It's up in the air, really. It's week-by-week," he said.
But that's not even on his mind right now. He knows the Alfred Saxons represent a mammoth challenge.
"The Empire 8 is a tough league and they have beaten some great teams," Kendrick Holmes said.
The Privateers' schedule might not have been as tough, but they could not have done more. Their 10-0 record speaks to that.
McKillop winds up
Middlebury's Donnie McKillop went out with a bang. And a win.
Anyone who knows him, knows that the victory is the most important thing.
He threw six touchdown passes in the 42-20 win over Tufts, setting the only Panther passing record he did not have.
He also owns many New England Small College Athletic Conference marks and even some Division III New England records. He finishes with 8,748 passing yards, 814 completions and 62 TD passes. Amazingly, he did all that in only 30 games. He leaves with a .626 completion percentage.
Biggest game, big numbers
Williams completed a perfect season by winning the Biggest Little Game in America, 31-16 over Amherst.
Williams was returning a favor as Amherst wrapped up an 8-0 campaign in 2009 by beating Williams.
It was Williams' seventh perfect season, but Aaron Kelton became the first Williams coach to have his team achieve perfection in his first year.
Big numbers? How about Williams quarterback Pat Moffitt completing 24 of 34 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns? Or Paul Lupo running for 128 yards? Or J.C. Stickney catching 135 yards worth of Moffitt's passes to go along with two touchdowns?
The biggest number? 10,145. That was the attendance.
Trinity close to
The Bantams didn't go 8-0, but they did finish 7-1. And once again, they did it in dramatic fashion, beating Wesleyan 27-20 when Ryan Burgess threw to Michael Galligan for a score with 1:02 remaining.
Freshman running back Evan Bunker added 119 yards rushing and Tim Costello contributed two field goals.
A trophy for Bowdoin
Bowdoin won the CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) Trophy for the fourth time in five years as freshman quarterback Grant White had himself a day by completing 13 of 20 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
White's scoring strike went to Pat Noone who also returned the opening kickoff 89 yards. Noone had 112 receiving yards.
Bates wins finale
Bates did not get the CBB Trophy, but the Bobcats closed on a positive note by beating Hamilton. It was their first win on the renovated Garcelon Field.
Kevin Helm had plenty to do with stopping the Continentals. He had a career-high 18 tackles, 14 of them solo stops.
Trevor Smith and Ryan Katon each threw a touchdown pass for the Bobcats.
Sean Murphy takes over for the fired Niles Nelson at Husson. Murphy had stops as an assitant at Dickinson, Bowdoin and Plymouth. He was a four-year letterwinner at Plymouth. ... The Vermont Senior Bowl, a game showcasing the 88 top high school seniors in the state, will be played Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Castleton State. The game always attracts some Division III coaches. ... Look for Castleton to add RPI to its schedule next season. .... Norwich will be completely renovating Sabine Field in the near future and the plans for the turf facility look spectacular. The stands and press box will also be new.