The College was clicking on both sides of the ball this past week as the football team took down the William Paterson Pioneers 27-3 in an away game victory that marked the end of a two-game slide.
The Lions (5-4) sprung back from their past games, when they produced less-than-fruitful offensive outings, by earning four touchdowns in a blowout.
The College controlled the game right from the start, scoring after recovering a fumble within the first five minutes of play on a 5-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Sam Paladino to sophomore tight end Andrew Lachawiec, in what would turn out to be the only points the team would need to come away with the win.
After the quick start, all the team really needed to do was run down the clock, which they did in a stunning display of ball control. All told, the Lions held onto the football for 42 minutes and 43 seconds, running 78 total offensive plays — 62 of which were running plays, leading to 193 yards gained on the ground.
“This past weekend’s game at WPU was exciting for our offense,” said senior wide receiver Fred Sprengel, who had two catches for 12 yards in the game. “We were able to do what we wanted. We controlled the clock and the entire game as a whole. Overall, we played good team football.”
The College did all of its scoring from the air and balanced the passing as well as possible, with one touchdown throw coming in each period.
After Lachawiec’s initial touchdown in the first period, which also served as the first TD reception of his college career, the tight end doubled his all-time total with another scoring catch made with 6:56 remaining in the second quarter on a 13-yard throw by freshman quarterback Craig Cicardo.
The nonstop attack continued in the second half, with touchdown passes going to sophomore running back Victor Scalici and sophomore wide receiver Conor Mulholland from Paladino in the third and Cicardo in the fourth, respectively.
The two quarterbacks played just about as equally as they could have, each throwing for 49 yards and two scores. The balance on offense continued on the receiving end, with 10 completions being split between eight Lions. Leading the rushing attack were Scalici with 96 yards and sophomore running back Brad Young with 86.
Of course, football is a two-way sport, and in the win the defense was no less impressive than their offensive counterparts, giving up just 151 total yards, with a mere 13 yards surrendered on the ground, and forcing two fumbles, both of which were recovered by the Lions.
The lone points scored by William Paterson came early on a 24-yard field goal in the first quarter. After that, the Lions defense held tight, and the Pioneers only made it into the red zone once more in the game.
“The game this past weekend was a great win for our team,” said senior linebacker Sean Clark, who had three tackles in the game. “Our main focus is to finish the year strong. I believe one of the main reasons we played so well as a team is the fact that while in the game, we were having fun! We made plays and took care of business, but you could sense every player was into the game, even the players on the sideline.”
Keeping with the game’s theme of even distribution, 14 players on the defense were credited with tackles, with senior linebacker Nick Bricker leading the charge with six. The defense also managed five total sacks, as senior defensive lineman Patrick Kimball contributed two while junior defensive lineman Jeff Adubato, senior defensive end Justin Bruso and junior linebacker Ryan Lowe each chipped in one.
The Lions look to finish the regular season strong this Friday, Nov. 8 as they face off against the first place team in the NJAC, Rowan University, in Glassboro at 7 p.m. The team is looking forward to the game.
“This week is obviously a very important game. Focus and execution will get us a win on Friday night,” Clark said.
For some Lions, this game means a little more than usual.
“This is a game we look forward to every year,” Sprengel said. “It is always a physical matchup. I personally look forward to the game because Rowan is what could be my final Football game and it is against Rowan (which is where my uncles) played college ball … A victory against Rowan would give me bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table this year.”
Football bragging rights at the Thanksgiving table—now there’s something worth playing for.