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Big-play magic for Mount Ida

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Mount Ida defensive back DeSean Hart did even more when he got his hands on the ball than he did playing defense.
Mount Ida athletics photo

By Tom Haley
D3sports.com

Mount Ida defensive back DeSean Hart had 10 tackles in the 58-41 victory over Anna Maria. Nice day. But lots of guys have double-digit games in tackles every weekend.

Hart also covered 190 yards and had two scores all in just two plays. Now, we are getting into storybook strata.

Hart intercepted a pass and sped 100 yards to a score and scooped up a fumble and dashed 90 yards to another touchdown.

"Physically, DeSean is a talented player," Mount Ida coach Mike Landers said. "But it is also the preparation he does during the week.

"He is a junior captain and makes a lot of the calls. He is like a coach on the field.

"He also gives tremendous effort."

It is that attribute that attracted Landers during the recruiting process.

"That is the first thing we noticed when recruiting him in high school," Landers said. "He is what we look for, a player that gives a really high effort and loves football."

The Mustangs went to a new offense against Anna Maria.

"We went no-huddle, and we went as fast as we could possibly go," Landers said.

They scored three defensive touchdowns and another with special teams, but quarterback Mike Pina obviously took to the new offense well as he threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns.

Pina is a sophomore, and we might see more of him in that offense in the future.

"It is something we are evaluating. It is fun and exciting," Landers said.

Hart's big-play extravaganza was just part of an eventful next-to-the-last week that sets up an enticing final weekend of the season.

Springfield remained unbeaten, but Trinity did not as Amherst ended the Bantams' 16-game winning streak. Plymouth won and western Connecticut lost in the waning seconds, allowing the Panthers to clinch the MASCAC title. And Bates won the CBB Championship meaning that the Bobcat seniors have four CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) titles.

Framingham's "issue"

Framingham State edged Western Connecticut 39-35 with 10 seconds remaining when Adam Wojenski threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Beahn.

The Rams can finish 9-1 by beating Worcester State in the finale, but Framingham coach Tom Kelley is a realist. He knows it might not be enough.

"We have some issues, and one of them is Springfield with their new conference. They are probationary," Kelley said.

That means if Springfield beats MIT in the finale and finishes 10-0 they still can't get in as a conference champion with the AQ. The Pride will have to be awarded an at-large spot, and that takes a possible berth away from the Rams.

At the least, the Rams will be playing in a New England Bowl on Nov. 18.

Wojenski was sensational throwing for 325 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

Kelley sent Paul Castonia a text on Saturday night congratulating him on the MASCAC title with a additional note saying, "You know I was rooting like crazy against you."

Plymouth is off this weekend and finishes 9-1.

Springfield rolled to a 9-0 record by walloping Maine Maritime 62-0 as Jordan Wilcox rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Hyde added another 118 in the ground with two touchdowns.

It was Springfield's largest margin of victory since 2010, when it beat Merchant Marine 64-0.

NESCAC's Maine Street

It has been a tough year for the NESCAC's three Maine schools. Bates, Colby and Bowoin started a combined 0-18.

But in Maine, you can make your season by bringing home the CBB Trophy, and Bates did by beating Colby last week and edging Bowdoin 24-17 this past weekend.

Jon Lindgren was phenomenal for Bates with 16 tackles and six pass break-ups. Brendan Costa had 170 yards rushing with a touchdown.

But the biggest news in the NESCAC was made by Amherst. The Mammoths ended Trinity's steak with Jack Hickey scoring two touchdowns.

It gave the Bantams and Mammoths each a 7-1 record and set up Amherst's game with Williams, "The Biggest Little Game in America."

Middlebury's Jared Lebowitz was still sidelined with an injury, but Jack Meservy did a pretty good impression of the UNLV transfer by throwing for four touchdowns as the Panthers beat Hamilton 41-20.

Tufts beat Colby 28-14 with Mike Pedrini rushing for 135 yards and three touchdowns. Tim Preston had two interceptions for the Jumbos.

Wesleyan alum Bill Belichick spoke to the team before its game with Williams. The Cardinals had the type of success the Patriots are accustomed to, beating Williams 35-0 as Mark Piccirillo passed for two scores and ran for two.

WNE wins showdown II

After winning its showdown of unbeaten Commonwealth Coast Conference teams the previous week against Salve Regina, Western New England took control of the league by beating Curry 42-28 in a similar showdown.

The Golden Bears did it on the ground with Dante Aiken leading the way with 152 yards and four touchdowns.

Salve Regina bounced back by whipping Becker 55-0 to go to 6-2. Danny McDermott threw three touchdown passes and John Salute recovered two fumbles.

In the other CCC game, Joe Kalosky threw three touchdown passes to lead Endicott to a 52-13 win over Nichols.

SUNY, Husson go to 8-1

The ECFC's Husson and SUNY Maritime continued their outstanding season by going to 8-1. Husson did it with ease; the Privateers had a fight on their hands.

Matt Murphy kicked a 20-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to give the Privateers a 17-14 win over Dean. Liam Bailey stood out on the defensive side for SUNY with 11 tackles and an interception.

Husson rolled past Alfred State 63-0. John Smith collected 143 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries.

Castleton won its ECFC game with Gallaudet 28-7 with Mitch Caron throwing for 274 yards and a touchdown and Moe Harris adding 128 yards on the

It's a clinch

Plymouth State's 24-7 conference-clinching win over Fitchburg State showcased Jeremy Martin, the freshman and former high school soccer player in his first season of football. Martin booted a 36-yard field goal and pinned the Falcons inside the 20 three times with his punts.

In other MASCAC action, Umass-Dartmouth defeated Mass. Maritime 37-14, and Worcester State toppled Bridgewater State 35-21.

Worcester State's Noah Brun threw three interceptions, but he was also prolific, He threw for 423 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Hunter PauPaw complemented him by rushing for three scores.

NEWMAC routs

No close games in the new conference as Springfield wasn't the only team to roll.

Merchant Marine stormed past Catholic 62-27, with Luke Tiefenthaler and Brice Moore combining for five rushing touchdowns.

WPI popped Coast Guard 44-16 with Sean McAllen running for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

MIT set up its big game with Springfield by blanking Norwich 20-0 to go to 7-2 and 5-1 in the league. MIT's Andrew Griese pinned the Cadets inside the 20 -- once inside the 5 -- with his punts and unloaded another punt for 59 yards. Aiden Van Duzer contributed by rushing for a career-high 165 yards.

The big games

The Biggest Little Game in America is bigger than it has been in a number of years as Amherst puts the 7-1 record and title hopes on the line against 5-3 Williams.

While Williams and Amherst claim the Biggest Little Game in America, America's Game this week will be in New London, Conn., where the ESPN Family of Networks will televise the NEWMAC game between Merchant Marine and Coast Guard.

This is a boon for the two service academies, the NEWMAC and Division III football. It is similar to the exposure D3 football received when ESPN's GameDay put the Williams-Amherst game on their itinerary one year.

Trinity in another NESCAC game with title implications is at home where it puts its 7-1 mark on the line against Connecticut rival Wesleyan. The Cardinals are 6-2 giving this one plenty of sizzle.

MIT and Springfield battle in another game with the NEWMAC crown on the line and Salve Regina hosts Curry in the most attractive CCC matchup.

Worcester State is at Framingham in the MASCAC marquee game and Bridgewater State meets Mass. Maritime continuing a great tradition in the 39th annual Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl.

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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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