Football gets beat by the long ball in defeat

It was a rough night for the College football team, as their issues with preventing the big play continued. They gave up three touchdown passes of 40 yards or more in a 41-17 loss to The College of Brockport on Saturday to start NJAC play.

The Golden Eagles were led by a masterful performance from quarterback Joe Scibilia, who torched the Lions’ defense for 366 yards and five touchdowns.

The game started off tight for the two teams. After the Lions let up a touchdown pass, junior linebacker Johne Ringo recovered a fumble and senior running back Justin Doniloski punched in a first-quarter touchdown from two yards out to tie it at 7-7. Doniloski finished the game with 81 yards.

“The line has been blocking real well and we have been getting downfield blocking from our wide receivers, which is key for our running game,” Doniloski said. “The main thing we need to do is to keep playing team football.”

The defense struggled in the air. (Sports info desk)

In the beginning of the second quarter, the Lions’ deficiency with the big play reared its ugly head. A 57-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Joseph Innes put Brockport up 14-7. After senior kicker Derrick Hughes hit a 42-yard field goal with time in the half winding down, it seemed like the Lions would escape with only a 14-10 deficit. That would not be the case. A 69-yard home run pass to wide receiver Jake Spalik was a backbreaker and put the halftime score at 21-10.

“It’s hard to say how we’re going to limit the big play,” Doniloski said. “On defense, we need to get 11 players to the ball. On offense, we need 11 guys doing their responsibilities on every play and then we will start having big plays as well. Our problem has been from penalties and turnovers, which we will be working to improve on in the upcoming week.”

When the second half began, more problems arose. On the first play from scrimmage, the Golden Eagles showed they could hurt the Lions on the ground as well when running back Tyrone Nichols scampered for a 55-yard touchdown run.

The College continued to fight back as freshman running back Victor Scalici ran in a score from three yards out for his first career touchdown. However, after two more six-pointers for Brockport, the Lions were finished.

The offense struggled, looking much different from its 45-point outburst last week over Farleigh Dickinson University-Florham. Senior quarterback Dan Dugan was held to just 130 yards against the Brockport defense.

It’s hard to know what to make of the Lions’ defense. On one hand, they had some great individual performances. Junior linebacker Nick Bricker had 14 tackles, senior linebacker Greg Burns had 10 and junior linebacker Sean Clark had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. On the other hand, the College’s defense as a whole has given up too many big plays. In three games so far, they’ve given up nine scoring plays of 40 yards or more.

The Lions enjoy a bye week before they travel to Western Connecticut State University in two weeks. They’ll use it to fix some of the problems they’ve had on both sides of the ball and figure out how to stop the big play. This team has the potential to be very good, but just needs to improve in a few areas.

“It’s our responsibility to take advantage of this bye week by getting healthy and cleaning up the scheme on offense and defense so everyone knows their jobs,” Doniloski said. “Everything is very much open in the NJAC right now, so we just have to learn from our mistakes from this loss and focus on Western Connecticut right now.”