Win or lose, football is family

Tom Kelley and his Framingham State Rams rolled to a big win against the school his son coaches at, Mass. Maritime. Some dubbed the game the Kelley Bowl.
Framingham State athletics photo

By Tom Haley

Jackie Kelley was going to feel badly for someone no matter who won Saturday's game between Framingham State and Mass. Maritime.

"The only one who can't win is my wife," Framingham coach Tom Kelley said.

Tom's son, Mike, was on the other side. He is an assistant football coach and head baseball coach for Mass. Maritime.

It was billed as the Kelley Bowl, and it went to Framingham in a big way as the Rams hiked their record to 4-0 by rolling to a 50-7 victory.

The Rams had the game in hand early, leading 22-0 by the end of the first quarter.

Quron Wright had another big day rushing the ball with 96 yards and a touchdown, and Svenn Jacobson returned an interception 37 yards for a score.

It was a long day for the younger Kelley and the Bucs. But there will be other days ahead including April 16, 2018, when Mike Kelley brings his baseball team to Framingham for a doubleheader.

No other sport plays on the theme of family quite like football. Every coach attempts to build the "we are family" theme throughout the season and all year long.

Sometimes there is another layer to that as the Kelley and Yesalonia families experienced this past weekend.

Some pretty intense feelings enveloped former Norwich head coach Mike Yesalonia during Norwich's Homecoming Game against Coast Guard on Saturday.

It was three-plus decades ago when Yesalonia's mother Gloria died on the week of the Coast Guard game when he was a Norwich assistant. He missed the week of practice, tending to family affairs in New Jersey.

The funeral was the day of he game. He and his father drove from New Jersey to New London, Connecticut, for the game following the funeral.

The Cadets defeated Coast Guard that day, and Yesalonia discovered the game had been dedicated to his mother. The Cadets and Bears began battling for The Mug in 1931 and in the game's aftermath the Cadets presented The Mug to Yesalonia and his father.

Coast Guard and Norwich ceased playing after the 2005 game. But Saturday they were back at it again as members of the new NEWMAC league, the rivalry renewed.

The last time the game had been in Northfield, in 2004, Norwich trailed 14-0 entering the final quarter and won with an amazing comeback led by a freshman named Pierre Garcon who caught two touchdown passes in the quarter.

Back at Northfield again on Saturday, it was Coast Guard's day. The Bears won 13-9 with Ethan Goldchamp throwing for 203 yards and a touchdown. Cole Austin had a big hand (foot) in the win by making both of his field goal attempts. As did Mike Goldsworthy with 12 tackles and three pass break-ups.

But Yesalonia, now the executive director of enrollment operations at Norwich, had plenty of feelings and memories flooding over him that had a lot more to do than what was happening between the white lines.

Football and family. Linked in so many ways. The Kelley and Yesalonia families got a pretty special snapshot of that Saturday.

Fleeting, Lebowitz air it out

Western Connecticut's Quinn Fleeting and Middlebury's Jared Lebowitz continued to put up big numbers and in doing so helped keep their teams unbeaten.

Fleeting completed 22 of 29 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-23 victory over Salve Regina. He has 11 touchdown passes for the 3-0 Colonials.

Lebowitz completed 20 of 26 for 316 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Bowdoin as the Panthers went to 2-0.

Pride in the ground game

Not everyone is doing it through the air to stay unbeaten. The Springfield Pride rushed for 574 net yards with six guys rushing for 55 yards or more. It all added up to a 42-10 NEWMAC win over WPI as the Pride went to 4-0.

Leading the way were Jake Eglintine with 139 yards, Tyler Hyde with 113, Hunter Belzo with 96 and Jordan Wilcox with 84.

Marlowe Scott had two interceptions for the Pride.

NESCAC thriller

There were mainly one-sided games in the NESCAC but not at Tufts where Wesleyan had to go to overtime to beat the Jumbos 24-17.

Mike Breuler had 201 receiving yards to show for his 13 catches. That included the touchdown grab in overtime from Mike Piccirillo.

Brandon Morris had 16 tackles for the Cardinals.

The routs? Middlebury beat Bowdoin 41-14, Williams trimmed Colby 24-7, Amherst Rolled past Hamilton 36-6, and Trinity thumped Bates 51-0.

It was the 13th straight win for Trinity and the Bantams have outscored the opposition 86-0 in the two games. Sonny Puzzo threw four touchdown passes, all to different receivers.

There were notable defensive performances including one by Williams; T.J. Rothman who had 19 tackles and broke up a pass. Amherst's Andrew Sommer was in on six tackles and recovered two fumbles.

Just bearly

The Bridgewater State Bears lost another tough one, and the Western New England Golden Bears earned a tough 21-14 victory over Husson.

Bidgewater State, a preseason favorite in the MASCAC, fell to 0-4 with the 31-29 loss to Fitchburg State.

The Bears have been in every game and could easily have a much different looking record.

Fitchburg's Nelson Valerio threw three touchdown passes and Jovon White was a wrecking crew: An interception, a fumble recovery and 12 tackles.

Kurtis Jolicouer had 13 tackles and broke up a pass from WNE.

Quick kicks: Zack Edwards thew two TD passes to Jacob Szulc as Plymouth beat UMass-Dartmouth 37-7. ... MIT toppled Catholic 38-21 as John Robertson threw for three scores and Sam Cantrell had an interception to go with six tackles. ... Amherst's John Rak converted both field goal attempts including one of 48 yards.

The big games

There is an attractive MASCAC game that has Plymouth traveling to Worcester State in a battle of 3-1 teams.

Worcester State has a quarterback with a hot hand in Noah Brum. He threw three touchdown passes in a 34-10 win over Westfield State.

Not sure if anyone can play with Trinity, but Williams trip to Hartford is the only NESCAC games pitting 2-0 teams against one another.

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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