NEWTON, Mass. – Mount Ida College honored 13 members of their football team on Saturday who were playing in their final home game while wearing the Green and White. Despite the emotional proceedings and the strong home crowd at Alumni Field, the Mustangs fell 38-19 to Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) rival Norwich University.
Norwich (5-3, 4-1 ECFC) held the Mustangs to under one hundred yards rushing for the first time since October 5th, and got three interceptions from junior Dane Pallotto (Westbrook, Conn.).
Mount Ida senior Jordan Hyman (Middletown, Conn.) caught five passes for 116 yards, going over 100 yards receiving for the third consecutive and fifth game this season. Hyman attempted to spark a second-half comeback when his 85-yard touchdown catch made the score 31-13 with ten minutes left in the third period after Norwich had jumped out to a 24-0 lead.
However, the Mustangs were done in by a multi-headed rushing attack of the Cadets, who gained 344 yards on 55 attempts (6.3 yards per rush) and scored five touchdowns on the ground. Junior Al Georgio (West Greenwich, R.I.) rushed for 136 yards and four touchdowns, including a 60-yard burst with 9:11 remaining in the second half to cap an opening 21 minutes that featured three Norwich touchdowns and a field goal.
Joining Georgio in the rushing attack was junior quarterback Keyen Foley (Hemet, Calif.), who gained a game-high 157 yards on the ground, and sophomore Sam Chaves (Alfred, Maine), who busted a 65-yard rush to set up Georgio for a five-yard score in the fourth quarter to take back the momentum for Norwich after Hyman's grab.
Junior quarterback Jawad Yatim (Shrewsbury, Mass.) threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw the three costly interceptions for Mount Ida, who also lost a fumble on one punt and committed a roughing the kicker penalty on another to twice more give the ball back to the Cadets.
Georgio opened the scoring with a ten yard run with 11:54 left in the first after an opening drive for the Cadets that went 66 yards on seven plays. Wesley Medeiros (Gilford, N.H.) added a 35 yard field goal later in the quarter, set up by Pallotto's first interception of the game, which came on Mount Ida's first play from scrimmage after a Norwich punt.
The first quarter ended with a 39 yard rush by Foley for Norwich and on the other side of the break it took six plays before he punched in an 8 yard score on a quarterback keeper.
Melquan Pinkney (Springfield, Mass.), who led Mount Ida with 63 yards rushing, burst for 32 yards on Mount Ida's next possession, but the drive stalled a few plays later and it took just two Norwich plays for Georgio to find a hole up the middle for a sixty-yard score that made it 24-0.
Junior linebacker Kayln Smithson (Vilseck, Germany) provided the biggest spark for the Mustangs in the first half when he picked off Foley in stride and went 36-yards untouched to the end zone to put Mount Ida on the board. Smithson timed his jump perfectly to coincide with the pass rush of freshman Sean Chinova (Watertown, Conn.), who got a hand on the ball as it left Foley's hand.
The Cadets, however, took back the momentum before the break, as Foley rushed for 41 yards to the Mount Ida 11 and Georgio punched it in from four yards out with under four minutes left in the half.
Hyman's touchdown was the only scoring of the third quarter, and it was negated by Georgio's five-yard scamper to his fourth touchdown of the day with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter.
Mount Ida went no-huddle mid-way through the fourth quarter and were able to move the ball 72 yards on nine plays in just 2:20. Yatim found freshman Matt Greenman (Portsmouth, R.I.) with an 11 yard screen pass, with Greenman flipping over the defensive back and into the end zone, but that would be the final scoring of the day for either team.
Freshman D'Andre Smith (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) led Mount Ida with nine tackles and had three break-ups, while senior Jon Proto (North Haven, Conn.) had seven tackles, two and half for a loss of 19 yards.
Senior Carlous Julien (Fort Pierce, Fla.) was also a menace in the Norwich backfield, picking up three tackles for a loss of yardage, while junior Anthony Sanders (Meriden, Conn.) had eight tackles.
The other seniors honored by Mount Ida on Saturday included Calvin Claiborne (Dorchester, Mass.), Frank Greene (Hamden, Conn.), Xavier Snipe (Brockton, Mass.), Zach Siegenthaler (Parkland, Fla.), Ned Cassidy (Brockton, Mass.), Frank Civitello (West Haven, Conn.), Nick Voss (Schenectady, N.Y.), Mike Babich (Franklin Square, N.Y.), Kenny Jean (Dorchester, Mass.) and Greg McEnroe (Babylon, N.Y.).
Juniors Nael Pierre-Louis (Cumberland, R.I.) and Matt LeFevre (Milford, N.J.) co-led the Cadets with seven tackles apiece, with LeFevre also adding Norwich's only sack of the game.
The Mustangs (4-4, 3-2 ECFC), who see their three-game win streak snapped, were just two of twelve on third down conversions and 1-3 in their red zone opportunities.
Norwich converted just 4 of their 14 third downs, but tacked on points five of the six times they were in the red zone.
The Mustangs have their final two games on the road this season, starting next Saturday when they travel to the Bronx, N.Y. to take on SUNY Maritime at 1:00 pm.
Norwich returns home for their final home game of the season, next Saturday at the same time against Husson.