SPRINGFIELD, Mass., October 14, 2006 – Chris Sharpe, the nation’s leading scorer in Division III, did little to hurt his standing by scoring all four of his team’s touchdowns in leading Springfield College to a 27-3 non-conference victory over SUNY Brockport this afternoon in front of a Homecoming Day crowd at SC’s sunny Benedum Field.
With the win, Springfield, ranked #1 in New England and as high as #17 in the nation in one poll, remains unbeaten at 6-0 overall. SUNY Brockport falls to 2-4. Springfield is now 6-0 for the first time since 2003, a year that SC went 10-0 in regular-season play, and finished 10-1 overall.
A junior quarterback from Derry, N.H., Sharpe ran for 135 yards and a “long” of 41 on 26 carries. His TD runs were of 1, 9, 2, and 1 yard. He was averaging 16.8 points per game entering the contest, and emerges averaging 18.0 ppg. Sharpe was also ranked #1 in the nation in rushing offense with 162.8 yards per game, and emerges averaging 158.2 ypg.
This game matched two of the top three rushers in the nation in Division III. While Sharpe was ranked #1, Brockport sophomore RB Garet Lynch was averaging 136.0 yards rushing per game. Lynch was held to 60 yards on 16 carries, and emerges averaging 120.8 ypg.
After a scoreless first quarter, it was Brockport that struck first. Following a 13-play, 43-yard drive that stalled at the Springfield 22-yard line, the Golden Eagles turned to their All-American kicker, senior Adam Lanctot, who booted home a 39-yard field goal. With 11:29 left in the second quarter, Brockport led, 3-0.
Following an exchange of punts, Springfield took over on its own 40-yard line. Sharpe then culminated the 6-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run. Highlighting the drive was a 28-yard run by junior FB Dante Calabrese (Stamford, Conn.). The extra point was wide left, but SC had taken the lead for good at 6-3. That remained the score at halftime and well into the third quarter.
Following a series of punts, the Pride then scored on a 6-play, 82-yard drive. Highlights included a 28-yard run by sophomore FB Andrew Jackson (Pennsville, N.J.) and a 41-yarder, his longest of the day, by Sharpe. On a second-and-7, Sharpe then ran around the left side for a 9-yard TD with 2:30 left in the half. The kick was blocked, so SC led, 12-3.
On the next possession, Brockport sophomore QB Zack Luke was picked off by junior DB Paul Zalenski (Meriden, Conn.), the first of two interceptions on the day for Zalenski. This gave Springfield possession at its own 42.
SC then ran off a 9-play, 58-yard march, culminating with a 2-yard TD by Sharpe, who slithered off tackle to the right side. During this drive, the first play was a 23-yard pass completion from Sharpe to junior HB Derron Walker (White Plains, N.Y.). With 12:33 left in the game, SC was starting to pull away. The extra point attempt by freshman Chris Bush (Creek, N.Y.) was good, making the score 19-3.
Brockport’s next drive began at its own 35, but Luke’s first play was an intercepted pass by junior DB Joe Harasymiak (Waldwick, N.J.). The interception was Harasymiak’s 7th in six games. He was ranked second in the nation entering the game, averaging 1.2 per game.
Springfield took advantage by finishing off a 5-play, 49-yard drive with 8:33 left. Sharpe ran it in from 1-yard out. Certainly the highlight of this drive was a Sharpe pass to senior wide receiver Brian Rose (Franklin, Mass.) that set up SC with a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line. After the score, SC went for two with Sharpe completing the conversion to sophomore tight end Mark Foster (Stormville, N.Y.). That made the final, 27-3.
Springfield had 20 first downs to Brockport’s 10. SC also had 389 yards of total offense to Brockport’s 179. In rushing offense, SC finished with 314 yards to Brockport’s 113. SC had 75 yards passing to the Golden Eagles’ 64. In terms of turnovers, Brockport had four (three interceptions and one fumble lost). SC did not turn it over.
Sharpe rushed for 135 yards and four TDs on 26 carries. Jackson rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries. Calabrese ran for 53 yards on nine carries, while Walker ran for 46 yards on six carries. In passing, Sharpe was 3-of-4 for 75 yards, 0 TDs, 0 interceptions.
For Brockport, Luke finished completing 11 passes in 18 attempts for 66 yards with three interceptions. He was sacked once. Lynch rushed for 60 yards on 16 carries. Sophomore Jeremy Darron ran for 28 yards on five carries. Luke ran for 18 yards on five carries.
On defense, for Springfield, sophomore linebacker Tom Caporale (Closter, N.J.) led his squad with eight tackles. Following Caporale were senior free safety Lucas Macariello (Stillwater, N.Y.), senior inside linebacker Andrew Madigan (New Britain, Conn.), and senior strong safety Kevin Fessette (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) with seven tackles each.
For Brockport, junior linebacker Matthew Bennick and junior defensive end Dale Buck led with nine tackles each. Buck also had 3 ½ tackles-for- loss. Freshman linebacker Garrett Axtell had eight tackles.
Next week, SC will play at St. John Fisher in an Empire 8 showdown at 1 pm. Both teams are unbeaten in conference play. Brockport will play at Wesley at 1 pm.