Owls football season is over
Morgan Douglas – Sports Editor
Football season ended with a whimper rather than a bang for the Owls this past Saturday with a 42-6 loss to the Stonehill College Skyhawks at home on senior day.
They finished with a record of 4-6 in a season which featured the highs of beating Division I Central Connecticut State University and winning on a last-second field goal in the home opener against St. Anselm College and the lows of being shut out on the road against Assumption College and a pair of home losses on Homecoming and senior day.
“Next year we will be back and better than before,” running back Diante Wilson, a freshman, said. “Next year will be a statement year for us.”
It is tough to blame Wilson for wanting to put a lopsided defeat behind him.
The Owls received the opening kickoff and promptly went three and out. They then allowed Stonehill to gain 30 yards on the punt return, giving the defense a tough starting field position.
Two plays later, Skyhawks quarterback Anton Stoneking threw his first touchdown pass of the contest. The extra point was good, 7-0 Skyhawks less than three minutes in.
The Owls again went three and out on their ensuing drive, and Stonehill marched down the field upon getting the ball back, with running back Justin Felder scoring the first of his two touchdowns on the ground, 14-0 Skyhawks.
The Owls went three and out for their third straight drive, and Stoneking, with Stonehill and company scored their third straight touchdown, after a blocked punt set them up in a favorable spot on the field.
“It started with field position, and then I felt like we were pressing a little bit,” cornerback and team captain, Kwadir Delgado-McIntyre, a graduate student, said. “So, we were dealt a bad hand and didn’t help ourselves and we found ourselves behind and fighting, and once you’re already behind a couple touchdowns, it’s hard to get back.”
The team was down 21-0 before 10 minutes had even ticked off the first quarter clock and things would not get better from there.
Stoneking threw his fourth and final touchdown pass of the contest on Stonehill’s first offensive play of the second half, completing it to wide receiver Chris Domerchant for 75 yards, 28-0.
On Sept. 17, starting quarterback Jackson Ostrowsky, a sophomore, sustained an injury which forced him to miss the rest of the season.
Since then, the Owls have used every quarterback on their roster in hopes of finding a solution, even going as far as to use wildcat packages with running backs and wide receivers taking snaps at quarterback.
This past Saturday, it was a combination of Marc Reali, a freshman, and Ralph Gonzalez, a redshirt junior, playing under center.
Gonzalez was responsible for the Owls lone score on the afternoon, finding Wilson, the running back, for a four-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.
“We’ve been practicing that play all week, it’s a red zone play,” Gonzalez said. “I saw man coverage, and I saw my boy Diante Wilson in the flat. I saw it from the start, and I just gave him the ball and he caught it, and that was it.”
The touchdown made the score 35-6, so it was not exactly the start of a great comeback effort, but it was important for the home team to not get shut out on senior day.
“Me personally, that was my first touchdown. It was a great feeling. I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life,” Gonzalez said. “It felt amazing. With the home crowd, it was good. We put some points on the board for us.”
12 seniors were recognized as part of the senior day ceremonies in what was likely their final game at Jess Dow Field. Emotions are revved up during any football game, but especially in one with such finality surrounding it.
Gonzalez said, “It’s hard because for four years, you get connected with your brothers, you make a brotherhood, to watch them go like this… I take it upon me, that I couldn’t get a ‘W’ for us, but it is what it is. I love them to death, and I’d do anything for them.”