|November 10, 2001|
Springfield topples Union, 49-35, in regular-season football finale
SCHENECTADY, N.Y.-Freshman quarterback Mike Judge ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bob Seldor and set up another score with a 44-yard pass to Luke Quigley to spark Springfield over Union, 49-35, in a Division III football clash at Frank Bailey Field.
Besides the combined 84 points, the two teams amassed 1,087 total yards on 159 plays. Springfield gained 439 rushing yards against a Union defense that came into the contest allowing a nine-game average of 72. The Dutchmen, meanwhile, passed for 375 yards and scored three touchdowns against a Pride defense that had allowed six passing TDs all year and was allowing the opposition an average of 123 yards.
The victory ended Springfield's season at 4-5 while Union, still hopeful of a postseason invitation, is 8-2.
Judge, who was making just his second start of the year, and the first since the season-opening 22-13 loss to UMass-Dartmouth, ran for 95 yards on 20 carries and completed two of his four passes for 90 yards. He helped the Pride to a 7-0 lead at 8:14 of the first quarter when he connected with Quigley for a 44-yard pass to the Union two. Quigley fumbled the ball into the end zone after being hit by defensive back James Weaver, but beat Weaver to the ball for the touchdown. Greg Switaj connected on the first of his seven PATs.
After Switaj failed to convert a 21-yard field goal with 10:58 left in the half, Union tied the game when senior quarterback Ben Gilbert found classmate wide receiver Craig Kopka on a 30-yard touchdown with 6:45 showing. For Gilbert, it was the 70th touchdown pass of his four-year career. Andrew Ruffo added the PAT for the 7-7 tie.
Springfield, which had lost all five of its games by nine points or less (including a two-point loss and a pair of one-point setbacks), exploded for 21 points over the final 5:46 of the second half. Senior tailback Bob Sedlor, who led the Pride's ground effort with 215 yards on just 16 carries, went 70 yards around left end for the touchdown that put Springfield in the lead for good. After Union went three and out following the kickoff, Judge camped a five-play, 44-yard drive with a 13-yard run that gave the visitors a 21-7 advantage with 2:25 left in the half.
Union needed just five plays to travel 61 yards with the ensuing kickoff with senior tailback Jasper Mills going over from one yard out to cut Springfield's advantage to 21-14. However, after Union recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Dan Lyons picked off Gilbert and returned the ball 38 yards to paydirt for a 28-14 Pride lead with 1:02 left in the half. The following kickoff resulted in a Union fumble that Judge converted into points when he found Sedlor on a 46-yard scoring pass that gave Springfield a 35-14 lead at the half.
Judge's one-yard run capped a 12-play, 67-yard drive and improved the Pride's margin to 42-14 with 8:58 left in the third quarter before Union scored the game's next 21 points to cut Springfield's margin to 42-35. Gilbert scored on a 15-yard run with 5:09 left in the third quarter before wide receiver, and former high school quarterback, Carm Taglione hit Salvatore Leo with a 66-yard scoring pass. Tight end Pat St. Denis pulled in a 15-yard pass from Gilbert and Union was back to within seven points with 4:50 left to play.
Springfield finally broke the Dutchmen's back when Quigley returned the ensuing kickoff 31 yards to the Springfield 31. On first down Sedlor outraced the defense for a 67-yard pickup that put the ball on the Union 11. Dustin Grasso scored on the next play to make it 49-35 in Springfield's favor with 3:57 left in the game.
Union's last gasp at victory ended with the Dutchmen moved from their 21 to the Springfield 14 only to see a fourth and three pass fall incomplete with 2:20 left to play.
Senior defensive back Thomas Allen enjoyed a tremendous day for Springfield as he had three of the Pride's seven interceptions. Jesse Baker, Jason Perkins, Ryan Santo and Lyons had the other four. Baker was in on 15 tackles while Kyle Gulino added 12.
Gilbert finished the day completing 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted a career-high six times. He also ran for 148 of the Dutchmen's 183 yards with one touchdown. Senior linebacker Mike Rosenthal was in on 13 tackles for Union while junior tackle Justin Sievert added 10.