SPRINGFIELD, Mass., November 18, 2006 - Junior quarterback Chris Sharpe ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Springfield College football team to a 42-14 victory over Curry College this afternoon at SC's Benedum Field in a first round NCAA Division III East Region playoff game.
As a result, Springfield is now 10-1 on the season, while Curry suffers its first loss and ends at 11-1. Curry was the New England Football Conference champion. Next Saturday at 12 noon, Springfield will host St. John Fisher at Benedum Field. Earlier today, St. John Fisher drubbed Union, 49-15, in Rochester, N.Y., in another NCAA Division III East Region post-season playoff game. Springfield and St. John Fisher actually tied for the Empire 8 Conference title this season, but SC was given the automatic NCAA Tournament berth because of its 55-38 win over SJF in Rochester on October 21.
The Pride jumped out to a commanding, 28-0 lead at halftime. Named the Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year just two days ago, Sharpe, the nation's leading rusher and scorer, did nothing to hurt his averages in those two categories. The Derry, N.H., native had rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns by intermission. Sharpe was averaging 163.0 yards rushing and 17.6 points per game entering the game. He emerged averaging 170.2 yards and 18.2 points per game.
Sophomore fullback Andrew Jackson (Pennsville, N.J.) got the ball rolling for the Pride today with a two-yard plunge with 9:11 remaining in the first quarter. A Chris Bush (Creek, N.Y.) extra point (he was 6-for-6) made it 7-0, Springfield.
Sharpe then went to work, scoring on a 10-yard run with 10:43 left and on a 30-yard run with 8:18 left in the second quarter. Junior halfback Tim Brouillard (Plymouth, Mass.) capped the second quarter scoring with 6:35 left on a five-yard scamper around right end, giving SC a four-touchdown lead.
The only scoring in the third quarter came on another Sharpe 10-yard run with 8:55 left. That made it 35-0, SC. Sharpe then closed the scoring for the Pride with his fourth touchdown of the game with 12:37 left in the fourth quarter.
Curry scored two touchdowns in the last nine minutes. Sophomore running back Steve DiFabio tallied on a 1-yard run with 8:43 left, and junior fullback William Waters ended the scoring on a two-yard pass play from sophomore quarterback Ryan Van De Giesen with 3:20 remaining.
Springfield finished with 399 yards of total offense (all on the ground) to 304 for Curry. Time of possession was in SC's favor, 37:26 to 22:34. SC had 25 first downs to the Colonels' 17. Of Curry's 304 yards, 135 came on the ground, 169 in the air.
Among individuals, behind Sharpe, Jackson had 53 yards rushing and one TD in one half of play. His substitute, junior fullback Dante Calabrese (Stamford, Conn.), had 37 yards on 10 carries. Brouillard had 36 yards and one TD on five carries. Junior punter Mike Mahoney (Mashpee, Mass.) had a good day, averaging 41.3 yards on three attempts.
Defensively, senior strong safety Kevin Fessette (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) and junior cornerback Joe Harasymiak (Waldwick, N.J.) had two interceptions apiece for the Pride. Harasymiak's two tied the Springfield single-season record of 10, previously set by Keith Sweeney in 1991. Senior free safety Lucas Maciarello (Stillwater, N.Y.) led the Pride with nine tackles and added one pass break-up.
For the Colonels, senior running back Jarrad Jordan led his squad with 59 yards rushing on eight carries. DiFabio had 39 yards on 10 carries. And sophomore running back Al McKenney had 32 yards on five carries. Van De Giesen finished with 169 passing yards and one TD by going 16-for-30. He was intercepted, however, four times.
Two Curry defenders had double-figure totals in tackles. Senior linebacker Sean Crowley, named All-New England just yesterday by the New England Football Writers Association, led the Colonels with 14 tackles, including eight solos. Senior linebacker Dan Dufour added 10 tackles, which included one tackle-for-loss.