Today: Jun 17, 2024

Football team loses offensive duel in home opener

Jaylen Carr – Editor-in-Chief

With the Owls playing their first home game at the newly renovated Jess Dow Field against their NE-10 rival Assumption University, the defense allowed 455 yards of offense, which propelled Assumption to win 42-29.  

 “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” outside linebacker Joe DiGello, a junior, said. “But you have to take the positives that can get from that.” 

DiGello, one of the team’s defensive captains, led the team with nine tackles.  

Assumption’s defense shut out the Owls’ offense on their first two drives. On the other side, Assumption scored on their opening drive because of quarterback Jake Cady, a senior, 35-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver Cameron Reagan.  

The Owls had great production from their two running backs, Kieran Falzon, a freshman, and Shawn Martin, a junior— each scoring a touchdown.  

Falzon ignited the Owls by gashing through the Assumption defense for a 58-yard run that set up a touchdown thrown by the quarterback, Keith Ridley, a graduate student, to wide receiver Luke Gadson, a junior, for a four-yard touchdown. 

“I have been doing this since I was in high school,” Falzon said. “I have always stepped up.” 

Head Coach Tom Godek’s message throughout practice leading up to the game was to play fast and physical, Falzon said.  

Despite Ridley throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, he said the offense can improve ahead of their next game against the University of New Haven.  

“It was definitely a tough one; we prepared all week for this one,” Ridley said. “I thought we had a good gameplan coming in, but we made a few mistakes on offense.” 

Ridley was sacked four times and threw an interception on a fourth downplay in the third quarter.  

“We have to be able to execute better in the red zone,” Ridley said. “It was too many turnovers for us to really win the game.” 

Ridley’s favorite target throughout the game was wide receiver Tylon Papallo, a senior who led the team with the most targets with 13. Papallo pulled down nine receptions for 112 yards, which led the team.   

“The offense definitely has some potential,” Ridley said. “For myself, I have to be clean and can’t turn the ball over.” 

After Gadson’s touchdown late in the second quarter, the Owls were within seven points at halftime, 21-14.  

To start the second half, Cady threw his third touchdown of the game, pushing the Assumption lead to 14.  

Martin brushed through defenders and ran for a 59-yard touchdown, and the Owls covert on the two-point conversion to make it 28-22. The Owls were within striking distance but did not score again until the game was out of reach late in the fourth quarter.  

Assumption would score 14 unanswered points, putting the game out of reach and another loss in the “L” column for the Owls.  

“We just have to keep our heads up,” Falzon said. “Once our heads started going down, that’s when we started playing bad; we couldn’t run the ball, and we couldn’t get stops.”   

Ridley said the team will look at the film ahead of their matchup against the University of New Haven to improve.  

“Southern has had a few tough seasons as a football program,” Ridley said. “We are ready to fight and claw our way to victory in any one of these games.” 

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