Brockport advances to NCAA second round for third straight year

By on December 2, 2019

The College at Brockport football team scored 21 second half points to rally from a 14-12 halftime deficit on its way to a 33-28 victory over host Western New England in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship on November 23 at Golden Bear Stadium.

Brockport (9-2) will now travel to nationally-ranked No. 4 Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania for second round action December 30. The Golden Eagles improved to 7-6 all-time in NCAA postseason play and they have now advanced to the second round of the NCAA football championship in three consecutive seasons.

“I’m proud of how resilient we were all game. We only start four seniors and we’re a young football team that experiences peaks and valleys,” said Head Coach Jason Mangone in the post-game press conference. “But, I love how resilient we were and we’re excited about the W.”

Brockport’s Jala Coad punched in two second-half touchdowns and the Golden Eagle defense held Western New England to just one rushing first down and 14 total yards rushing in the victory. 

“Our first mission is to always stop the run. Make them one dimensional with the passing game,” said senior linebacker Alex West about Brockport’s defensive game plan. “Then we can get after the quarterback and get some sacks. Coach Fox (defensive coordinator) always has a great game plan.”

Jala Coad finished the day with 29 carries for 152 yards and rushing scores of six yards and 53 yards. Freshman quarterback Freddy June completed 16 of 26 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also rushed the ball 16 times for 64 yards and a 22 yard fourth quarter touchdown run to pace the Golden Eagle offense.

Ben Damiani totaled seven tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss and one sack. Empire 8 Rookie of the Year Raylens Boutin totaled four tackles and two pass breakups. Junior linebacker Lawrence Jenkins added four tackles and a huge third quarter interception for Brockport.

Brockport struck first in the contest when senior DaQuan Hubbard capped the first Golden Eagle drive of the day with a 15-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Freddy June. The 13-play 75 yard drive ate up 7:49 of the first quarter clock and gave the visitors an early 6-0 lead.

Brockport doubled up the home team in time of possession, 41:36-18:24 in the contest. Their first two scoring drives of the day were both over seven minutes long. On the flip side, Western New England’s first half scores came off of drives less than one minute.

Western New England answered with the first score of the second quarter when backup quarterback Brendan Smith connected with Steven Fedorchak from ten yards out to make the score 7-6 in favor of the Golden Bears. Less than three minutes later the home team struck again when Smith and Fedorchak connected again, this time from 49 yards out, to hand WNE a 14-6 lead. 

Brockport’s comeback bid began late in the second half, when June connected with Imhotep Cromer for a 24-yard TD score on fourth down and 19 to make the score 14-12 headed into the locker room at half. June’s second TD pass of the day came with just 20 seconds left on the first half clock and he capped the first half going 10-for-16 for 130 yards through the air. Cromer finished the day with six catches for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Following a missed field goal attempt by Brockport late in the third quarter, Lawrence Jenkins came up with a big interception at the Western New England 25 yard line with 3:17 left in the frame to help keep the Golden Eagle comeback bid alive. The Jenkins INT set up a six play 25 yard scoring drive, capped by a six yard Jala Coad TD run, to give the Golden Eagles their first lead since the 10:08 marker of the second quarter, 19-14.

Brockport then forced a punt and extended its lead to 26-14 following a 53-yard rushing touchdown by Coad to open up the fourth quarter of play. 

“In the second half – I stayed patient. We kept going with the running game and finally got a big break,” said Coad about his 53-yard fourth quarter touchdown run. “It definitely felt great.”

Western New England would not go down without a fight, and Brendan Smith connected with Adam Razza for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 9:50 to go in the fourth quarter to make the score 26-21 in favor of the Golden Eagles. 

Brockport’s next possession proved to be crucial. June extended the drive by connecting with Cromer for a 12-yard completion on first down to move the sticks for the visitor’s. On the following play, June found an opening and scampered 22 yards for the score to put Brockport on top 33-21 with 4:38 left in the contest. 

It seemed as if the Golden Eagles had a comfortable two score lead, but the Golden Bears engineered another quick scoring drive after the ensuing kickoff was returned 59 yards to the Brockport 38 yard line by Byron Jones. Just five plays later, Smith found Razza once again for a two yard touchdown pass to make the score 33-28 in favor of the Golden Eagles with 3:06 left in regulation. 

Western New England then attempted an on-side kick, but the attempt went out of bounds before either team could possess it. Brockport then found itself facing another tough fourth down decision, and Head Coach Jason Mangone put the ball in the hands of his most reliable weapon – Jala Coad – who was able to pick up two key yards and a first down to seal the victory for the Golden Eagles.

Western New England’s season comes to a close with a 9-2 overall record. Backup quarterback Brendan Smith had a stellar day off the bench as he completed 12 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns through the air. Steven Fedorchak caught five balls for 102 yards and two first half scores, while Adam Razza caught five balls for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Erich Keutmann led the Golden Bear defense with 13 tackles and one sack. Joshua Salem added 12 tackles and 2.0 sacks.

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