Unbeaten Springfield overpowers Coast Guard 38-7
New London — Pat Crowley, sophomore defensive back, arrived in the locker room at halftime Saturday afternoon to find the Coast Guard Academy football team's defensive coaching staff scurrying around, making adjustments.
“Coach (Dana) Fleischmann, coach (Dom) Rogers, coach (Grant) … nobody's ever hardly quiet,” Crowley said. “I keep repeating it, but you could see they're trying to do anything to win. It gives us energy as a team to watch our coaches. It lights a fire under your butt.
“It shows us they believe in us.”
Coast Guard trailed 24-0 at halftime on the way to a 38-7 loss to Springfield before 1,744 fans on “Celebrate New London” day at Cadet Memorial Field.
But the Bears (3-3) showed up with considerable fire for the second half against the unbeaten Pride, in first place in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference and ranked first in New England at 6-0 overall.
Coast Guard was outgained by the Pride, which runs the triple option, 309-34 in the first half.
In the third quarter, the Bears had a 103-40 advantage, starting with a stop by the defense — sophomore defensive back Mike Goldsworthy flipped Springfield's Hunter Belzo, tackling him for a 3-yard loss on first down — and continuing with a Coast Guard drive to the goal line.
Coast Guard had first-and-goal from the half-yard line on a drive aided by a 23-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Jones to Darius Adams, but failed to score on four straight plays.
Again, though, the defense held and Springfield netted only three yards on a punt when the snap sailed over the head of punter Whit DeVaux.
Coast Guard took over at the Springfield 47 and Jones, a sophomore starting just his second career game, capitalized, completing four straight passes including an 18-yard jump ball to Adams which Adams leapt to catch like a center fielder.
That brought it to 24-7 with 4:08 to go and resulted in a Coast Guard onside kick, which it recovered. Crowley took the onside kick with his brother Chip recovering it, adding to a fake punt the Bears converted in the first half on which punter Chip Crowley ran for the first down.
Coast Guard got the ball to the 23-yard line following the onside kick before Jones was sacked on fourth down.
“I thought we came out in the second half much better,” Coast Guard coach Bill George said. “We got used to the option a little better. … We've got to get a little more disciplined in some areas. I think there's a fine line that, you want to be really, really tough and disciplined. We came out tougher — it's a physical, physical game — but we need to be more disciplined.
“You always work it at halftime. You come in in the second half and battle it up.”
The physical game of which George spoke resulted in 18 penalties for 199 yards, with Springfield whistled 12 times for 132 yards.
After going scoreless in the third quarter, however, Springfield finally broke through with 13:31 to play in the fourth on a 5-yard touchdown run by Hunter Belzo.
Chip Crowley unloaded a 57-yard punt on Coast Guard's next possession, but Springfield, once again rolling, drove 77 yards in six plays for a touchdown to take the 38-7 lead, capped by a 2-yard run from Josh Thomas.
Adams finished with four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown for Coast Guard and Jones finished 16-for-45 passing for 146 yards and one interception.
Crowley had nine tackles, including one for a 6-yard loss, and fellow defensive back Matt O'Donnell led the Bears with 12 tackles. Andre Horner had a fumble recovery.
Fullback Jordan Wilcox ran 21 times for 187 yards and a touchdown for Springfield and quarterback Jake Eglintine added 18 for 106 and also had a touchdown.
“Just seeing an offense like this, this speed … it's definitely different,” Crowley said of defending the triple option. “It gives me a new role.”
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