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Football drops regular season finale at Morrisville

by Paul Cifonelli - Sports Editor
Tue, Nov 19th 2019 09:00 pm
Juniors Imhotep Cromer and Alex Benson and senior DaQuan Hubbard down a punt near the end zone.
Juniors Imhotep Cromer and Alex Benson and senior DaQuan Hubbard down a punt near the end zone.

With a third consecutive Empire 8 championship and NCAA Tournament bid in hand, The College at Brockport football team did not have much to gain from its final game of the regular season. Morrisville State College, meanwhile, entered the game with a 5—4 record and a chance at a bowl game. The Mustangs had much more to play for and came out with a much-needed victory.
Brockport jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on a 26-yard interception return by junior linebacker Andrew Covais. It was Covais' third interception of the season and of his career. The Golden Eagles laid claim to a 14-0 lead on sophomore running back Jala Coad's 15th rushing touchdown of the season. Junior linebacker Lawrence Jenkins had an interception to set up Coad's touchdown run. After a Morrisville touchdown, Coad punched in his second touchdown in the game to give Brockport its second double-digit lead of the day. Coad's second score made it a 21-7 game and was the end of Brockport's scoring for the day. Morrisville tacked on another touchdown to shrink the deficit right before halftime.
A field goal midway through the third quarter by Morrisville junior kicker Desmond Akpanoko proved to be the difference in the game. The Mustangs scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter to make it a 24-21 game.
The Golden Eagles were unable to mount any offense in the second half, and the offense especially sputtered in the fourth quarter when it had a chance to tie the game or take the lead. According to Brockport head coach Jason Mangone, the team simply did not deliver when it had the chance to make a comeback victory.
"We missed opportunities," Mangone said. "We have to take advantage of the chances we have and, at this point, we are taking turns making mistakes, which adds up to poor execution."
The loss to Morrisville snapped a 21-game conference win streak for the Golden Eagles. It was Brockport's first loss to an Empire 8 foe since the 2016 season.
Despite the loss, Brockport still has a trip to the NCAA Tournament lined up. On Sunday, Nov. 17, the Golden Eagles were given their first round matchup. Western New England University will play host to Brockport on Saturday, Nov. 23 at noon. The Golden Eagles will have to rebound quickly from the loss in order to have a chance to take down a tough Western New England squad.
"It's always difficult after a loss, especially when we had a chance to make it three straight undefeated conference championships," senior quarterback Jason Hellwig said. "But, as soon as the bus got home [from Morrisville], everyone's focus shifted to this weekend's playoff game. We know that records and regular season conference championships get thrown out and the goal is to go 1—0 every weekend from here on out."
Western New England enters postseason play with a 9—1 record, including an undefeated run through conference play. The Golden Bears' only loss was to Division I Stetson University, a game they lost by 31 points. Since the teams do not share a common opponent, it is difficult to gauge how the two teams will fare.
This will be Brockport's first road playoff game since its Final Four game at Mary Hardin-Baylor University in 2016. It is also the first time the Golden Bears and Golden Eagles have ever met.
For Brockport, its offense will need to get back into a rhythm in order to come away with a victory. The status of freshman quarterback Freddy June is still unclear, as he has not played since exiting late in the fourth quarter against SUNY Cortland on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Muhlenberg University and MIT will play on Saturday, Nov. 23 in another NCAA Tournament game. The winner will take on the winner of the Brockport - Western New England contest on Saturday, Nov. 30.

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