Springfield, Mass. -- September 22, 2012 -- Fullback Joel Altavesta ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns to lead his Springfield College football team to a 44-14 victory over the University of Rochester in its Liberty League debut this afternoon at SC's Amos Alonzo Stagg Field. The Pride rushed for 416 yards, and gained 517 yards overall.
With the win, Springfield raised its overall record to 3-1, and its Liberty League record to 1-0. Rochester fell to 1-2 overall, 0-1 in the conference.
Altavesta, a senior from Tewksbury, Mass., ran for touchdowns of 68, 2, and 24 yards. His 68-yard TD came in the second quarter. He also had runs of 55 and 27 yards in the first quarter.
SC led 3-0 after one period, and upped its margin to 17-7 at halftime. The Pride broke the game open in the third quarter, leading 37-7 after three periods. SC's largest lead was at 44-7 midway through the fourth.
The Pride took a 3-0 lead following its first drive on a 23 yard field goal by senior placekicker Ricky Peacock (Tucker, Ga.) with 12:36 to go in the first. SC had two false start penalties inside the Rochester five yard line that stymied its ability to score more.
SC missed on a 35-yard field goal attempt on its second drive.
But on their first drive and first play of the second quarter, SC sophomore QB Rob Merckling (Melville, N.Y.) surprised the Yellowjackets with a soft pass over the middle that junior James Poggio (East Granby, Conn.) corralled and took in for a TD from 46-yards out. That gave SC a 10-0 advantage.
Later in the second period, Altavesta burst up the middle and ran away for a 68-yard TD. Peacock's boot made it 17-0 with 4:12 left..
Right before the half, Rochester took a chance on a fourth-and-goal from the SC 18 yard-line and scored a touchdown to cut the margin to 17-7 at the intermission. With two seconds left, junior quarterback Dean Kennedy (Scituate, Mass.) lofted a pass to senior wide receiver Thomas Hayes (Syracuse, N.Y.) at the left edge of the end zone.
Altavesta had rushed for 167 yards and was averaging 20.9 yards per carry by halftime.
Rochester had the initial drive of the third quarter but could get no further than its own 39. SC took over on its own eight yard line and began to march. Spurred by a 25-yard run by senior runningback Andy Bean (Coventry, R.I.), SC reached the Rochester 21 yard line behind Merckling. But on a second-down play, Merckling suffered a leg injury and would not return for the remainder of the game.
Freshman QB Jonathan Marrera (Boston, Mass.), SC's third-string QB, took over and in three plays, SC had scored a touchdown. Marrera's first play was a nifty sideline pass that was hauled in by senior WR Phil Baier (Braintree, Mass.) to the Rochester four. Two plays later, freshman FB Louis Fenaroli (Newtown, Conn.) dove in from three yards out for the TD. That gave SC a 24-7 lead with 9:11 to go in the third.
On the next drive, SC took over on its own 44. In 10 plays, Altavesta scored on a two-yard run with 3:24 left. On the drive, Marrera ran for 40 of the 56 yards, while Altavesta ran for the remaining 16. It was now 30-7.
Rochester took some more chances on its next drive. On a fourth-and-four from its own 31, Kennedy was sacked by sophomore DE Max Nacewicz (Newtown, Conn.). In three plays, SC scored again. This time, Marrera threw a 17-yard strike to Baier, making the score now 37-7 with 1:12 left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Altavesta tallied his third TD from 24 yards out. With 10:58 left, SC led 44-7.
With 6:14 left, Rochester wrapped up the scoring when freshman WR Derek Wager (Palmyra, N.Y.) caught an 80-yard pass and run play from back-up sophomore QB Jordan Golinowski (Morganville, N.J.).
Entering the game, SC was averaging 361 yards rushing, second-best in the nation in rushing offense. In today's game, the Pride rushed for 416 yards and averaged 7.2 yards per carry. SC also passed for a season-high 101 yards.
Rochester ran for 130 yards and passed for an additional 309.
Individually, besides Altavesta's 214 yards rushing, Marrera ran for 43, Bean 35, senior Mike Davis (Madison, Conn.) 32, and Fenaroli 30.
Merckling was 2-for-5 for 70 yards and one TD. Marrera was 2-for-3 for 31 yards and one TD Poggio caught two passes for 70 yards and one TD. Baier caught two passes for 31 yards and one TD.
For Rochester, Kennedy was 16-for-33 for 192 yards and one TD with two interceptions. Golinowski was 4-for-8 for 117 yards and one TD with one interception.
Senior RB Chris Lebano (Brooklyn, N.Y.) ran for a team-high 57 yards.
Defensively, for the Pride, junior FS Sam Weiss (Glasser, N.J.) had a team-best seven tackles with one interception (45 yards) and one pass break-up. Sophomore LB Danny Macalena (Congers, N.Y.) had six tackles. Junior LB Corey Kaiser (River Vale, N.J.) had six tackles, including one tackle-for-loss. And Nacewicz had six tackles, including 4.5 tackles-for-loss and three sacks.
For the Yellowjackets, junior OLB Tony Ortega (Rochester, N.Y.) was credited with a game-high 10 tackles. Junior DE Kevin Pecklar (Mentor, OH) had seven tackles, including a half-tackle-for-loss.
Next Saturday, SC plays its second Liberty League contest and first league contest on the road when it travels to Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. at 6 pm.