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Football prepares for Cortland with sixth consecutive victory

by Paul Cifonelli - Sports Editor
Tue, Oct 29th 2019 09:20 pm
Sophomore Jala Coad, nicknamed `Coad Green,` jogs off the field after scoring a touchdown.
Sophomore Jala Coad, nicknamed "Coad Green," jogs off the field after scoring a touchdown.

Following a much-needed bye week, The College at Brockport football team controls its own destiny in regards to postseason play. The winner of the Empire 8 Conference gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is how Brockport has qualified for the last few years. With only five bids given to teams that do not win their conference, Brockport’s early-season loss makes winning the Empire 8 a must, as it is very rare that two-loss teams make the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Eagles needed to start the second half of their season with a win against a tough squad from Utica College.

Brockport has owned Utica in recent years, winning every matchup between the teams since 2016. However, in the past two seasons when the Golden Eagles beat all their opponents by a substantial margin, Utica played Brockport closer than most other teams. The Pioneers, despite losing by their biggest margin since their last win in the series, put up a good fight against the Golden Eagles.

Senior kicker Dustin Moyle opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 32-yard field goal. Later on in the quarter, junior wide receiver Alex Benson capped off a long drive with a four-yard touchdown run. The second quarter was mainly dominated by Brockport, with Moyle connected on his second field goal of the game and sophomore running back Jala Coad running in his 10th touchdown of the season. Utica closed out the first half with a 45-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 20-7 at halftime. The touchdown was the first points Brockport’s defense has allowed since its game on Saturday, Sept. 28 against Alfred State College.

Toward the end of an evenly-played third quarter, Brockport’s senior running back Justin Morrison found the end zone on a one-yard run. Another Utica touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter made it a 27-14 game with just over 12 minutes left. The Golden Eagles’ next drive produced nothing and the Pioneers took over and began making some plays. Sophomore defensive back Kenny Hernandez halted it with a 42-yard interception return for a score to put the game away. Coad ran in the final score of the game for Brockport to give it a big 41-14 victory.

Both freshman quarterback Freddy June and senior quarterback Jason Hellwig played, with June going 10-15 with 121 passing yards and Hellwig completing five of eight passes for 62 yards. Coad and Morrison each ran for over 70 yards, with Coad collecting two touchdowns and Morrison one. Despite leaving the game with an injury, senior wide receiver DaQuan Hubbard led the team with three catches for 51 yards.

The defense owned the game yet again. Utica managed 210 yards of total offense, but just -2 on the ground. Senior linebacker Alex West led the way with six tackles and two sacks. Hernandez had two interceptions in the game, including the touchdown. Senior defensive back Alaan Montgomery also picked a ball off. Hernandez says it is the way the defense practices that makes it such a dominant unit.

“Every practice we come out with intensity,” Hernandez said. “[Brockport defensive] coach [Mike] Fox always comes out saying we’ve got to run to the ball and tackle. And that’s how we play.”

Now that the Utica game is in the past, Brockport has its most important game of the season next. On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Golden Eagles will travel to SUNY Cortland with the front seat to the Empire 8 title on the line. Cortland is ranked 19th in the country, according to the d3football.com rankings. The Red Dragons are a perfect 7—0 but narrowly defeated St. John Fisher College this past weekend, eking out a 42-37 win.

The last two years, Brockport did not have many difficult games until it took on Cortland. However, with a loss on its record already and competitive games with Framingham State University and Utica, the Golden Eagles have been tested before their biggest game of the season.

“We’re not the same team as last year,” Brockport head coach Jason Mangone said. “We have freshmen and sophomores standing in front of freshmen and sophomores [on the depth chart]. We’re just so young that all these guys that are playing now were really not a part of the ‘big leads’ we’ve had in the last few years. To get them in some battles now has been good, and we’ve been battling in practice. I think the competition there is carrying over to here. And seeing our guys work hard through adversity is fun to see.”

Brockport travels to Cortland on Saturday, Nov. 2, with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m.

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