Football team loses season finale 54-14
Ben Martin – Sports Writer
The Owls’ football team honored 19 seniors ahead of their matchup against the University of New Haven Chargers on Saturday, which they ended up losing 54-14.
In addition to the seniors, this was the last game for many of the six graduate students on the Owls’ roster. One of those graduate students was wide receiver Javon Jones who ended the game with four receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown.
“This being my last game, I just wanted to come out here and play to the best of my ability,” Jones said. “Catch everything that came my way do not try to force nothing, just play the game and let balls come to me.”
As a part of Jones’ performance, he caught the first touchdown that the university scored.
After a one-yard rush by running back, Diante Wilson, a sophomore, the Owls were faced with a third down and seven from their 48-yard line. Quarterback Marc Reali, a sophomore, drops back to pass, he looks to the sideline and delivers a pass over the defender to Jones. Jones corrals the ball off a bobble at the 30-yard line and from there runs into the endzone untouched.
“After seeing the guys getting hyped after I caught that first touchdown, I was feeling it,” Jones said. “I was feeling better, and I was feeling more motivated.”
Reali added another touchdown on top of that one near the end of the second quarter, capping off a 14-play drive that started with 7:41 on the clock. After a one-yard rush by Wilson, the Owls were faced with a fourth down and four five-yards out from the endzone. The Owls’ coaches kept the offense on the field looking to score.
Reali drops back to pass, scrambles to avoid the rush and finds wide receiver Tarik Hetmyer, a freshman, for Hetmyer’s first touchdown of his college career, closing the gap to 28-14 heading into halftime.
Reali ended the game with 171 yards passing on 13 completions including two touchdowns while tossing one interception, bringing his season totals to 1284 passing yards, ten touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Along with the offense, the defense had some standouts including Hassan Dominick, a senior, who in his final game led the team in tackles with 13. Along with Dominick, defensive back Navaughn Austin, a fellow senior, had an interception.
Although the Owls scored twice in the first half, they were shut out in the second as the Chargers kept scoring.
“The game did not go as we all planned,” Jones said. “We had a slow start to the second half, and we just never got it going from there. We should have done more.”
Although one of the main purposes of Saturday’s game was to say goodbye to the seniors, the football team features many freshmen, sophomores and juniors who will be around next season including outside linebacker Joe Digello, a sophomore.
“Not the way we wanted to end the season unfortunately, but you got to role with the punches,” Digello said. “We got a lot of work to do but we have got a lot of guys willing to do the work, so we got a lot of motivation going into this next season.”
With the loss, the Owls finish the season with a record of 3-8 and a record of 2-5 in Northeast 10 conference play.
“We have got a lot of good players, individuals that have to do their own job, worry about their job specifically,” Digello said. “If all eleven players do their job, you usually end up doing pretty well so that’s something we really have to work on.”
Digello had six tackles on Saturday which brought his season total to 63 tackles on the year with four of them being sacks. Additionally, Digello had two interceptions.
In addition to Digello, Owls’ head coach Tom Godek saw some room for improvement from the matchup.
“Just compete,” Godek said. “Keep playing, every play counts… every play counts.”
Photo Credits: Sarah Shelton – Photo Editor