October 23, 2012

Life, culture and records

More news about: MIT | Wesleyan

MIT's upset victory over previously unbeaten and nationally ranked Salve Regina on Friday night was felt across the Division III Northeast landscape.

The off-field action by Wesleyan tight end Matt Long was felt clear to the Midwest.

Long signed up for the bone marrow donor program during a drive on campus and was found to be at least a 99 percent match for a person in the midwest. The only facts Long is allowed to know about the recipient at this time is that he is in his 30s, lives in the midwest and has some form of cancer.

Long is matter-of-fact about his humanitarian gesture.

"It seemed easy to get signed up," he said. "I never thought I would be called. I was pretty surprised. Matches are pretty rare.

"You think you might be called 10, 20 or 30 years later. But to get a call four months after registering is pretty rare."

The humanitarian bent in Long was seen well before he chose Wesleyan over Beloit, where his father went, and Washington University in St. Louis. His high school coach, Jim Provost, has always seen that part of Long's makeup.

"If you had told me that Matt Long had found a cure for cancer I wouldn't be surprised," Provost said. "He is a man of few words but very giving. He volunteered at our youth football camp before he left for school this year. His senior year, he organized a food drive during spirit week.

"He is very talented athletically and academically, but also very giving. When I heard about what he did I was not the least bit shocked."

When Provost calls Long "a man of few words," it is an accurate portrayal. The 6-5, 240-pound junior measures his words carefully and they are soft spoken.

But he does give some insight about why he became a donor.

"I have a family history of cancer and this seemed a very, very easy way to help out," Long said.

He also attributes the football experience to it all.

"It is a lot of the idea about how we are a part of the team; about how we are all one," Long said. "I would have wanted someone to be a match for me."

Long missed the victory over Bates that enabled the Cardinals to stay unbeaten at that time. He was in a hospital in Washington, D.C., undergoing a  five-hour procedure for removal of bone marrow. He was able to return to the team for Saturday's home loss to Amherst, the Cardinals' first defeat of the season.

Long came in as a defensive end as a freshman, but quickly moved to tight end due to a lack of players at that position.

"I had played tight end in high school," he said. "I am one of the bigger ones so I do more blocking."

He likes where the program is headed under coach Mike Whalen and feels there is a lot to look forward to this year and next.

"I am optimistic. The coaches are bringing in a lot of good players. It is on the upswing," Long said.

He listened to the webcast of the Bates game from his hospital room. Here is a bone marrow donor listening to a game against an opponent playing with emotion and grief from the recent loss of a player. Bates freshman Troy Pappas was being remembered that day after dying from a tragic accident on campus. If there was ever a snapshot of bringing football into perspective, it was there.

Now, Long is hoping to hear of a life saved.

"I am supposed to hear in about a month how he is doing health-wise," he said.

If all goes well he will be meeting the recipient in about a year.

Hopefully, that will be the biggest win yet.

Things are changing at MIT

It sometimes takes a victory over an opponent like Salve Regina to grab a hold of the football community and tell them that something is going on with your program.

The win over the Seahawks is the trophy in the window for all to see, but a transformation has been in the works since Chad Martinovich arrived. This is his fourth season.

One of two finalists for the new Castleton State job out of well over 100 applicants in 2008, Martinovich wound up at MIT and has been steadily working to make the Engineers a successful program.

"We have really tried to improve the football culture,” he said. "We have been recruiting Ivy League caliber athletes and getting depth at every position.”

He has also brought players into the fold who are committed to football year round.

"What has hurt us this year is our youth," Martinovich said. "We are playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores."

The Engineers have only one senior on each said of the ball.

One of those is offensive lineman Ethan Peterson who has garnered several prestigious awards and is in line for more.

Martinovich was aware of Peterson when he was still an assistant at RPI.

"He was one of our top offensive line recruits. He was considering RPI and Cornell. Then he was accepted at MIT and Cornell and he came here."

Peterson is a four-year starter and two-year captain as well as a two-time all-conference selection.

"He has been a rock and the leading force on our line," Martinovich said of his left guard.

Brad Goldsberry returned a kickoff 61 yards that set up Justin Wallace's winning touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining in the 20-19 victory over Salve Regina, ending the Seahawks' 13-game winning streak.

"He is a big part of what we do," Martinovich said of Goldsberry. "He is a hybrid. We use him in the slot as a receiver and as a running back as well as on special teams. He touches the ball in multiple ways. He is a conference leader in all-purpose yards."

He had 141 of those against the Seahawks.

One of the special things about football at this level is the intimacy the small campus breeds. The teams pull for one another. That made the celebration memorable after the upset. The basketball teams were there to help celebrate with the Engineers and then the football team went to the basketball team's Midnight Madness.

"It was very special," Martinovich said.

The MIT men's basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the country. But on Saturday it was very much about the football program's biggest victory on the campus at MIT.

Spartans, Mustangs remain at top

Castleton State and Mount Ida extended their Eastern Collegiate Football Conference records to 4-0, staying locked in a first-place tie.

Shane Brozowski threw for 393 yards and five touchdowns for Castleton and Brandon Boyle was again the top receiver for the Spartans. He had 157 yards worth of receptions with two touchdowns in the 54-33 win over Anna Maria.

Ida had to depend of late dramatics again. Bobby Hemmann's 38-yard field goal with four seconds left gave the Mustangs a 24-21 win over SUNY-Maritime. He also won a game against UMass-Dartmouth with a field goal as time expired.

Records at Framingham, Endicott, Coast Guard

Framingham State also stayed on top by running its Bogan Division to 5-0 in the New England Football Conference with Melikke Van Alstyne amassing a school-record 294 yards on 36 carries.

Endicott collected a program record 709 yards of total offense in a 61-15 win over UMass-Dartmouth. Drew Frenette led the offensive extravaganza by throwing for 450 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Murphy was his prime target with 12 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

Coast Guard quarterback Jon Resch ran for three touchdowns, including one with 33 ticks on the clock in regulation time to force overtime. Tyler Henning won it with a field goal as the Bears beat Worcester State 31-28.

Resch set single-season school records in the game with 2,210 passing yards and 185 completions.

Bridgewater State is another NEFC team in the throes of a special season. The Bears trimmed Fitchburg State with Mike Gentili rushing for 118 yards. Mike McCarthy threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores.

Mass. Maritime beat Maine Maritime for the Admiral's Cup as Barry Reopell ran for 102 yards with two scores.

Tucker Schumitz ran for two touchdowns as Western New England clipped Plymouth State 23-3.

Nichols was ahead of Curry 21-14 at the half, but the Colonels came back and won 34-24. Curry's combination of Kevin Fruwirth and Robert Bambini put up the big numbers again. Fruwirth threw for 375 yards and three scores while running for another. Bambini caught 12 balls for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

Down to two in NESCAC

Wesleyan's loss to Amherst means there are two unbeatens remaining in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Middlebury and Trinity went to 5-0 and meet this week in Hartford.

Middlebury toppled Bates 38-23 as McCallum Foote went 36 of 50 for 536 yards and five touchdowns. He has 21 TD passes in the five games. Zach Driscoll had 15 catches for 202 yards for two touchdowns and now holds the school record for career receptions with 138.

Trinity downed Bowdoin 27-10 as Evan Bunker rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Colby's Jonathan Michaeles got his first win as a head coach as the White Mules beat Hamilton 32-29.

 Williams rolled past Tufts 25-7 with Tom Wohlwnder rushing for two scores.

Oh, brother

Gallaudet brothers Todd and Ryan Bonheyo had a hand in the first six touchdowns for the Bison as they outgunned Becker 48-26. Gallaudet is still in the race in the ECFC at 3-1 and hosts 4-0 Castleton in a marquee game this week.

Norwich breezed past Husson 56-0 with Kris Sabourin throwing for three touchdowns and running for another.

The big games

The chill is in the air, foliage is past peak and the big games get bigger.

It is hard to imagine a bigger one than the one in the NESCAC where Middlebury and Trinity match their 5-0 records. Foote has been prolific, but the Panthers will have to do something that nobody has done in a long, long time to beat the Bantams. Trinity has won 45 consecutive games at home.

The big one in the ECFC has Castleton putting its 4-0 league mark on the line against 3-1 Gallaudet. The Spartans have to contend with the long trip from Vermont to Washington, D.C, as well as the Gallaudet triple option that has been putting up plenty of points. Gallaudet's very athletic defense has its own challenge in trying to shut down the BB Gun. Brozowski and Boyle have been the scourge of the league and Brozowski is the all-time leader in passing yardage in New England Division III football.

Framingham will try to stay unbeaten in the Bogan but it might not be easy in the NEFC's big game as the Rams must contend with Coast Guard and the record-setting Resch.

MIT will try to build on its statement it made against Salve against a Nichols team that might be better than its record.

"He (Kevin Loney) is trying to build something there and he is doing a good job. They had Curry on the ropes," Martinovich said.

The wild card in the Northeast in late October and into November can be the weather. It is felt by many that teams with running games have an edge.

It's just getting interesting.

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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.

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