PAXTON, Mass.—The Anna Maria College football team overcame their offensive drought, but surrendered four touchdowns before scoring one of their own in Saturday's 28-7 loss to Norwich University in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) action.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Norwich totaled 554 yards of offense to Anna Maria's 201 and held a 24-11 advantage in first downs en route to their second-straight ECFC victory. Both teams were turnover-heavy on the day, as Norwich fumbled twice and lost both, while the AMCATS threw three interceptions.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Cadets ran in two touchdowns in the second quarter. Quincy Williams was first with a nine-yard score that concluded a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
With just under six minutes remaining in the half, quarterback Phillipe Bazinet found a hole for a 13-yard touchdown run.
Anna Maria won the initial coin toss and elected to receive in the second half, but that proved ineffective as quarterback Darius Jones-Clark (Baltimore, Md.) threw an interception on the first play of the half. Norwich's Tyler Oppelt was credited with the interception and handed the ball back to the Cadet offense at the Anna Maria 42-yard line.
The Cadets needed just one play to take the 21-0 lead as Bazinet found Grant Troxell for the 42-yard touchdown scored just 30 seconds into the second half.
Norwich scored for the final time on their third drive of the third quarter. A 19-yard rush for Pierre Noel on first-and-10 brought the Cadets to their own 39-yard line, setting up Patrick Brown for a 61-yard scoring rush.
Trailing 28-0, senior linebacker Stefano Marziale (Cranston, R.I.) recovered a fumble on the AMCAT 45-yard line and handed possession back to the offense. The offense opened the drive with an 18-yard pass completion to Emmanuel Leake (Providence, R.I.) but was unable to claim another first down on the drive.
On fourth-and-six, the AMCATS special teams set up in punt formation from the 33-yard line. The punt was a decoy, however, as holder Trai Weaver (Waterbury, Conn.) got the snap, stood up, and fired a pass to Joseph D'Onofrio (Everett, Mass.) for a 33-yard touchdown completion. Kicker Francis Cole (Maspeth, N.Y.) was successful on the extra-point attempt.
D'Onofrio was the AMCAT leader across the board on the day, as he rushed 16 times for 42 yards, caught four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, and totaled 65 kick-return yards and 25-punt return yards on the day.
Clark completed 14 of 36 passes for 129 yards and also threw three interceptions. D'Onofrio was his favorite target with four completions, but Leake, Weaver, and Josiah Cook (Providence, R.I.) all finished with three catches apiece for 40, 28, and 17 yards, respectively.
Cole was again in double-figures in punting as he totaled 491 yards on 12 punts, averaging 40.9 yards per punt.
Defensively, Anna Maria received 12 tackles each from Marziale, Carlos Ribeiro (New Bedford, Mass.) and Jarius Ransom (Williamstown, N.J.). Ransom and Kai Nero-Clark (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) teamed up for a three-yard sack during the game.
Bazinet competed 10 of 18 passes for 141 yards on the day. Pierre Noel was his favorite target, completing six catches for 39 yards. Troxell totaled 84 receiving yards on three catches.
The Cadets had their biggest impact on the ground, as eight different players combined for 407 rushing yards on the day. Williams topped the chart with 123 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Brown averaged a team-best 12.2 yards per carry, traveling 98 yards on eight attempts. Bazinet rounded out the rushing leaders with 89 yards on 16 tries.
Kicker Wesley Medeiros was a perfect four-for-four on extra-point attempts. He was 0-for-2 on field goal tries, as his 47-yard attempt in the first quarter was blocked and his 26-yard attempt in the fourth quarter was wide right.
Defensively, Norwich was led by Benjamin Hummer with eight tackles. Micah Bosseler recorded a 16-yard sack in the game.
Today's game marks the end of an era as the Cadets will leave the ECFC to join the NEWMAC football conference next year. Norwich wraps up their history with Anna Maria with an 8-0 record.
Anna Maria will travel to Husson for a 12:00 p.m. start next Saturday, October 22. Norwich will host Gallaudet next Saturday at the same time.