SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – November 12, 2006 – Fresh off its 500th win in school history, the Springfield College football team learned today that it has been named the #2-seed in the East Regional and will host Curry College of Milton, Mass. in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship tourney next Saturday, November 18 at SC’s Benedum Field at 12 noon.
Springfield College is one of 32 teams to reach the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2006. There are eight teams from each of four regions representing the North, South, East, and West. The East Regional is comprised of the six New England states, plus New York, New Jersey, and portions of Pennsylvania.
Springfield College is in this year’s championship by virtue of receiving the automatic qualifying berth from the Empire 8 Conference. Yesterday (Nov. 11), SC defeated Norwich, 35-0, in Northfield, Vermont, thereby finishing the regular season with an overall record of 9-1, and a conference record of 5-1. St. John Fisher also finished with a 5-1 league mark, thus Springfield and St. John Fisher are co-titlists. But SC defeated St. John Fisher, 55-38, at St. John Fisher on October 21, giving SC the tiebreaker and the automatic NCAA berth.
Here are the eight seeds in the East Regional. They are (with overall records):
1) Wilkes (10-0),
2) Springfield (9-1),
3) St. John Fisher (9-1),
4) Rowan (7-2),
5) Hobart (8-1),
6) Union (7-2),
7) Curry (11-0),
8) Washington & Lee (7-3)
Here are the first-round games in the East Regional, all to be played on November 18:
*Wilkes (10-0) vs. Washington & Lee (7-3) at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
*Rowan (7-2) vs. Hobart (8-1) at Glassboro, New Jersey
*St. John Fisher (9-1) vs. Union (7-2) at Rochester, New York
*Springfield (9-1) vs. Curry (11-0) at Springfield, Massachusetts
The Springfield-Curry winner will take on the St. John Fisher-Union winner on November 25. SC has already beaten both of those teams this season.
Second-round games will be played on November 25. Quarterfinal games will be played on December 2. Semifinal games will be played on December 9. And the NCAA Division III national championship game, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, will be played on December 16 at Salem Stadium in Salem, Virginia. Amos Alonzo Stagg was the first head coach at Springfield College, dating back to SC’s first season in 1890.
This will be Springfield College’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship tournament, all under Head Coach Mike DeLong. The Pride also made the NCAA’s in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003. This will be SC’s seventh post-season appearance overall. It won ECAC post-season championship single game appearances in 1995 and 2004.
At 11-0, Curry, the #7-seed in the East, owns the best record in America in Division III. They finished atop the Boyd Division of the New England Football Conference. Yesterday (Nov. 11), the Colonels played Coast Guard, the winner of the Bogan Division, in New London, Conn., and won by a score of 34-28. The winner of that game received the automatic berth from the NEFC to the NCAA’s.
Springfield Head Coach Mike DeLong has never coached a game against Curry.
Here is Curry’s 2006 schedule with results to date:
Sept. 1 at Worcester State, W, 10- 7
Sept. 9 FITCHBURG STATE W, 21- 0
Sept. 16 WESTFIELD STATE W, 27- 0
Sept. 23 WNEC W, 19-10
Sept. 30 at Salve Regina W, 35- 0
Oct. 7 MIT W, 49-13
Oct. 14 at Endicott W, 35-14
Oct. 21 at Plymouth State W, 40-26
Oct. 28 NICHOLS W, 37-13
Nov. 4 at Mass. Dartmouth W, 43-34
Nov. 11 at Coast Guard W, 34-28
“First, let me say that this is all very gratifying,” said Springfield Head Coach Mike DeLong about his team reaching the NCAA Tournament. “To go from a 4-6 team, as we were a year ago, to 9-1 is quite a leap. We’re very excited, very pleased to be in the tourney.
“As far as our first-round opponent is concerned,” added DeLong, “we know that Curry is an excellent team. They are 11-0, an unbeaten team. We know that every team that gets to this point has to be very good. No doubt, we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Springfield had a fine game yesterday at Norwich. Junior halfback Derron Walker (White Plains, N.Y.) had his best game, rushing for 160 yards and two TD’s on just nine carries (17.8 yards per rush). His TD’s were of 93 and 34 yards on consecutive carries. Freshman fullback Bret Manning (Acton, Mass.) had 95 yards rushing on nine carries, while junior halfback Tim Brouillard (Plymouth, Mass.) had 76 yards and one TD on just three carries. Sophomore running back Nick Tymoczko (Bucksport, Maine) had 48 yards rushing on four carries in the late going.
SC amassed 517 yards of total offense, including 447 on the ground. The Pride had six plays of 30 yards or more. That included, in order, rushes of 58 yards (TD), 71, 93 (TD), 34 (TD), and 30 yards. The Pride also had a TD pass of 70 yards. In addition, a 41-yard run for TD was called back due to penalty.
Meanwhile, junior QB Chris Sharpe (Derry, N.H.) was held to a season-low 55 yards rushing on 13 carries before he sat down for good early in the fourth quarter. Sharpe did, however, become the first player in school history to surpass the 2000-yard figure in total offense. He had broken Kevin Cahill’s 1999 record of 1,909 yards a week earlier. Sharpe now has 2,106 yards of total offense this season.
Sharpe entered the Norwich game as the nation’s leader in rushing (175.0 yards pg), scoring (18.7 ppg), and TD’s (28). He emerged averaging 163.0 ypg, 17.6 ppg, and scoring 29 TD’s. New national statistical rankings will be released Monday.