It will be difficult for the Union College football team to ignore the out-of-town scoreboard when the Dutchmen host Springfield in a non-conference contest today on Frank Bailey Field at noon on Senior Day.
Although 18 seniors will be honored in their final regular-season home game, the Dutchmen also know they have a chance of earning a bid to the NCAA Division III tournament if Hobart loses at Rochester. Union has already clinched a share of the Liberty League title, but the Statesmen, who handed the Dutchmen their only league setback, own the tiebreaker if the teams share the title.
“We just want to take care of business and beat Springfield. That’s our main priority,” said Union head coach John Audino, whose 5-4 team has rebounded from an 0-3 start. “We can’t watch the scoreboard. We want our
seniors to go out with a win. They’ve been a big part of our turnaround this season.”
Although it’s out of their hands now, the Dutchmen could end up going to the playoffs. Yet Audino wants his team to focus on the pos-itive things it has accomplished over the last several weeks.
“We know we are at least co-champions of the league. We’ve played so well the last two weeks. We got the Dutchman Shoes
Trophy back, and we won last week to clinch part of the title,” said Audino. “Our goal now is to win our sixth game in the last seven weeks.
“We have 18 seniors graduating, and they have taken this program on their shoulders and turned it around. I will always appreciate their support. They have helped this program bounce back from a horrible season a year ago. They have built our momentum.”
Among the seniors being honored today will be wide receiver Justin Gallo, who needs just 62 receiving yards to become the program’s all-time leader in that category, surpassing Steve Angiletta (3,253). Gallo is ninth in NCAA Division III receiving yards per game with 123.8, and is also 18th in scoring (10.5 ppg).
Senior quarterback Drew Connolly, who has completed 140 of 246 passes for 2,253 yards and 23 TDs, is fourth on the school’s all-time passing yardage list with 7,004, while senior wideout Connor Gallo has 20 receptions for 203 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior kicker Adam Henry is 12-for-14 in field-goal attempts and has hit 27 of 28 in PATS, while senior linebacker Steve Modlis-zewski is second on the team in tackles with 69.
Other graduating seniors are defensive back John Campbell, offensive lineman Kyle Florell, defensive back Cam Johnson, defensive back Jafar Johnson, running back Tim Mogan, defensive lineman Chris Paine, defensive tackle Kevin Quillinan, defensive back Richard Sixto Jr., offensive linemen Dan Smith, Christos Theodorou and Matt Ursillo, defensive back Jon Stidd and tight end Eric Zavadsky.
“We appreciate what this class of seniors has done for us, and we want to send them off as winners,” said Audino. “But Springfield is a very good team, and we don’t play against their type of offense all year long.”
The 6-3 Pride, who will leave the Empire 8 and join the Liberty League next season, are paced by quarterback Josh Carter with 1,191 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns to go along with 598 passing yards and eight scoring strikes.
DANES AT HAWKS
University at Albany makes its final road trip of the regular season when the Great Danes visit West Long Branch, N.J. to take on the 4-2, 5-4 Monmouth Hawks at Kessler Field.
UAlbany (6-1 NEC, 6-3 overall) had its six-game winning streak snapped against Bryant last week. The Great Danes are now tied for the NEC lead and can’t afford another league setback if they hope to win the league crown and advance to the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs.
Guilderland High School graduate Drew Smith tops the Danes with 100 or more all-purpose yards in seven consecutive games.
Monmouth’s key player is senior QB Craig Peterson, who has passed for 653 yards and four touchdowns since taking over for injured starter Kyle Frazier.
RPI IN FINALE
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (3-2 Liberty League, 4-4 overall) closes out its regular season by hosting Merchant Marine Academy (1-4, 2-07) at 2 p.m. at East Campus Stadium.
Junior quarterback Mike Hermann has completed 149 of 253 passes for 1,825 yards and 14 touchdowns to go along with a team-best 513 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.